I teared up this morning as I propped my four-year-old daughter on my knee so she could help me vote. Her tiny hand gently held my arm as I filled in the bubble to cast my vote for the first female president. I wanted-no, needed her to be a part of making history. As I then watched her feed the ballot into the machine, I could fight the tears no longer and I let them flow.
My daughter and I making history!
We have always been a very civic minded family, at five weeks old; my husband carried my son in his arms as he cast his vote on Election Day. Every year since we have brought our kids to the polls along with us and added to the album we call “Voting with Daddy Year By Year”. However, not all in this country share this passion. Just because our citizens have the right to vote, it doesn’t mean that they have been exercising that right.
This year the election has been emotionally draining for each and every citizen. I was told that the AMA actually put out special guidelines for health care professionals to treat the resulting anxiety produced by the campaigns. However, if we take the time to look beyond the stress we see that something very important has happened- people have passionately backed a candidate in a most wholehearted and democratic way. Democracy, at its finest, has been achieved.
This country was founded on the basis that every citizen has the right to elect the official of their own choosing. The person who secures the majority of these votes wins the position. People died in wars fought to establish and maintain this very idea. Brilliant men debated and labored to form a Constitution which holds these ideas as law of our land.
This election has been teeming with more passion and dedication by our citizens than one can recall in recent history. Social media is bursting with pictures and posts of mothers, brothers, friends, sisters, millennials, elderly, African American, white, male, female, transgender, gay, straight, bi, priests, nuns, and rabbinical voters- you name it, EVERYONE in every group has been driven to the polls to vote.
I have especially seen parents bringing their young ones to the polls. As stated, we have visited the polls yearly and our children have been the only ones under the age of 18 in the room. This year, however, parents are making it a point to vote as a family; thus, passing on the vital importance of the idea of democracy to the next generation. We had once become somewhat complaisant with our right to vote, but no longer do we feel this way. A new life has been restored to the idea that our vote matters, that without it, we would not be the incredible and free democratic society that our founders fought for.
Everyone agrees that this has been an incredibly challenging and particularly emotional election year. Some even say that, as a result, the cavernous divide in this country is irreparable. I will argue that there is a silver lining- the entire country has been filled with such a passion for our democratic right to vote; that the next generation is already being taught how important it is to maintain and continue this right; that we will never become complaisant again!