I Vote in All Elections Big and Small

by Ilinap on October 11, 2010

Several years ago I had a bumper sticker on my car that read “Friendly neighborhood liberal.” Luckily I live in a liberal neighborhood. However, once a guy flipped me off, yelled obscenities at me, and flicked his burning cigarette on the hood of my car at a red light because of that sticker. My young sons were strapped in their carseats in the back at the time, and damn was I frightened. Another time I was driving to Greensboro to meet a client, and two pick up trucks bookended me on the highway and yelled at me. They were harassing me on the road, endangering my personal safety. All because I proclaimed to be liberal. My sticker was not incendiary, which is why I chose it. I took that sticker off after a while. I added an Obama sticker and faced more middle finger flipping. However, I found that I experienced more waving, smiling, high fiving, and courtesy too.

We’ve become exceedingly divisive in this country. There’s palpable hate. It’s excruciating. We, the people has morphed into Me, the person. It seems we have forgotten the principles of our founders. That’s probably because most people didn’t take the citizenship test that my mom and dad took. My family doesn’t take its U.S. citizenship for granted. We cherish it. And we cherish the democratic process and ideals that allow people like me to sport that bumper sticker and people who sport stickers like this one. Click if you dare.

I love to vote. I anticipated turning 18 even more than I cared about turning 16. Voting is exponentially cooler than driving. To this day, I hate to drive but I love to vote.

I take my sons with me to vote. Always have. When Bird was an infant I tucked him into his stroller and walked to my polling place. He of course had no idea what was going on, but nonetheless, he hasn’t missed an election. Same with Deal. We vote in the big elections, the little elections (Those are the ones that really matter!), and the run offs. I, being a proud liberal, festoon myself and my kids in garb to reflect our stance. We are essentially walking billboards. We all sported Obama shirts and buttons and were a veritable parade walking to our polling place with all our neighbors. Some were Palin fans, yet we all walked together, eager to see how the historic year would play out.

Granted, my political fashion sense can be in poor taste, but if you clicked on that link up there you’ll see that poor taste is relative. Sometimes good humor requires bad taste, but I suppose that is relative too. I have a bib that both my sons wore that says “Mommy loves me too much to vote Republican.” We’re way beyond the bib wearing years, but I tucked it away in a baby box to pass down to my grandkids one day. Hopefully neither son will turn into Alex P. Keaton. And if he does, so be it. But there goes his inheritance. Ahem. I also have a magnet that I had to take down once Bird learned how to read. It’s funny stuff if you share my sense of humor. I find it humorous, not hateful.

It’s important to me that my sons appreciate our democratic process. Their grandparents earned the right to vote in this country. Their great grandmother grew up during a time when women were not allowed to vote. They, my sons, are first generation American. I don’t take that for granted and I don’t want them to either. We’ve been lucky enough to have amazing teachers who dig into curriculum that sheds some light on our uniquely democratic process. Few places in the world operate without chaos on election day. It’s really quite remarkable that despite our heated differences, our electoral process is respectful and orderly.

We have a county commissioner race here in Raleigh. The outcome will have serious financial ramifications on what our new school board is conjuring up. I’ll be there on election day. With my sons. I’ll also be at their school running the Kids Voting program all day. And just for fun, we’ll read Duck for President before the election. As far as civics lessons go, there’s nothing better than a duck metaphor. And it’s certainly cleaner than the Republican f*%#er on my inappropriate magnet.

If you have questions about elections in your area, I encourage you to do your homework! Homework’s not just for kids anymore. Check out Yahoo! News Ask America for a great look at issues and what’s hot in your state. Get engaged. Stay informed. Vote.

And of course, this is also your friendly reminder to register to vote and to get out on polling day!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyndi October 11, 2010 at 8:43 PM

I love Duck for President. And I love to vote. Fingers crossed for this one!


landismom October 11, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Wow, that would be very frightening! I guess I had forgotten you were near Greensboro–I was just there for a wedding a few weeks ago, and it seemed like a weird political mix–Quakery and also the place of the lunch counter boycott.


Ann's Rants October 11, 2010 at 9:06 PM

I can’t believe the aggression you faced from other drivers due to that sticker.

Keep fighting the good fight!



Ryan Boyles October 12, 2010 at 12:47 AM

Ilina, I think the power of positive attitudes should be the best way to teach our children to behave in a responsible way towards people with different opinions and views. I try to teach about right and wrong and not red or blue. They chose to hold the Carolina is Obama Country of their own pride not by my instruction.


April October 14, 2010 at 11:27 AM

My license plate frame says “Hollywood Liberal.” But since I live in SoCal, I haven’t encountered much backlash. Though I always worry when I go down to my sister’s, who lives near Camp Pendleton. So far, so good, though!


Donna October 14, 2010 at 11:33 AM

I love this post – and I think maybe you answered a question I’ve been wondering: Why I, also, have ALWAYS voted in EVERY election since I turned 18. Maybe it has something to do with having a parent who is a naturalized citizen, someone who chose to be an American before she could obtain the right to vote. This gives me hope for my own daughter, whose dad also emigrated here.


alissa October 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Hey there…I’m new to your blog and have enjoyed reading through a few of your recent posts. I love to vote and miss the privilege to attend the polls in person. As an American in Canada I have full rights with our northerly neighbours minus the whole voting thing. And since I’m 3 hours from the closet US border…I end up going the absentee route.

One thing I’ve learned while living here is that Canadians take the whole election thing much differently. It’s more about the parties combined ideas and beliefs rather then the personal agendas and opinions of the voter or the candidate. I watch CNN every morning and think to myself…gees guys, what a hot mess. When did it become such a he said she said debate, it’s ugly.

My Grandpa use to take me to the polls with him to vote. I felt really cool cause he also volunteered at the same prescient and everyone knew him. Felt like a VIP with back “ballot” access. It was awesome. Made me appreciate just how lucky we are to live in a democratic society.


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