My daughters have been coming in to the voting booth with me all of their lives. Walking behind the curtain, pressing buttons, feeling the excitement and the power of the moment. I’ve always tried to make it a magical and meaningful experience so that when they grew up it would still feel like it was important and effective, and never like a chore, or an insignificant obligation.
Today, for the first time, my grown-up kid voted. It was an exciting moment for me. I know it was a remarkable moment for her.
On our way to the polls we talked about our choices. Democrats, Republicans, third parties. We talked about the local Board of Ed folks, and the referendum questions. Then we talked about how people vote.
Some people vote from their heads. Some folks vote from their hearts. Some people vote from their wallets. Some folks toe the party line. Some folks vote based solely on how the candidate’s policy choices will effect them personally. Some people focus entirely on the common good and forget about their own personal situations.
Some folks vote from a place of kindness, compassion, and generosity. Some people vote from a place of reason, analysis, and financial statistics. Some folks vote with monumental social change in mind, and some focus on traditional values and status quo.
Some people vote from pure emotion. From hope for certain things, and fear of others. From anger at certain things, and acceptance of others. From approval of certain things and a disdain for others.
Some people are focused on one or two issues that mean the most to them. Some folks sacrifice certain issues for financial reasons, or religious reasons. Some people vote out of solidarity, and some folks vote out of spite.
Some folks decide not to vote at all, out of ignorance or apathy, rebellion or anarchy. There are so many different ways to decide if and how to vote.
We talked about them all. And then, my big kid went into the booth alone, and voted for the very first time. From her heart. With the good of all people in mind. And with a huge smile on her face.
She still believes in the magic and meaning of the moment.