My teenager would like nothing more than to vote on Tuesday. Of course he is not allowed to vote, and there are good reasons for that, I suppose, my son being the exception that proves the rule. He is a bona fide political junkie who understands more about this election and what rides on it than many people twice his age. A confession: The kid knows more about current events than I do. That is less a condemnation of me than praise of him, because I am reasonably well versed in domestic and foreign policy both.
In our house we are unanimous in supporting a Presidential candidate. I don’t even need to tell you who that is (but it’s Obama). Those of you who’ve been reading my words for any length of time know where I stand. And my younger son, well, he stands with me because he still believes that his parents are right in most things. As it should be for a ten-year-old, and really, is this not the reason why kids don’t vote? They’d vote exactly as their parents do. The first and second graders I help teach spout their parents’ rhetoric on all matters political (that is, when they understand the rhetoric. To wit: a second grader at lunch a few weeks ago, overheard saying, “My mom’s a Dentocat, but my dad’s a Repo Man.”) But my fifteen-year-old cannot rightly be called a kid, and if he were able to vote he would vote his own conscience, not his mother’s nor his father’s.
This post is not a testimonial to a candidate or party. It is instead a bipartisan plea: Vote. Vote, no matter how inconvenient. Vote, mindful of a fifteen-year-old who’s bitterly disappointed that he won’t be voting, who cares enough that he’s already planning to be glued to the TV on Tuesday night until such time as a winner is announced – no matter how long it takes, and with or without snacks.
Vote, because it’s an honor and a duty. Vote because you can. Vote because there’s a boy at my house fervently wishing that he might do the same, a boy counting the days until he turns eighteen, not so he can drive, or drink, or engage in any other of a host of more or less licentious activities, but so he can do his part to determine the kind of nation he and his descendants will inherit.