November - the month of Thanksgiving. The real beginning, if you will, of the holiday season. Leaves are changing, you can smell the fireplaces outside, sweaters are being worn, and the time for snuggling is upon us – look out Mr. Baravelli! Children are excited and geared up for celebrations and gifts and, it would seem that, “goodwill towards men” is reappearing. Oh wait, what’s that you say. Ah, yes, November. The first Tuesday in November, to be exact. Election Day. What magnificent irony that the day when the fighting comes to a head, the debates heat up, and we are called upon to choose the lesser of two evils exists in the same month when we should be reminded of our love for one another, a time when the newcomers to this country sat down with those who were here first – not for a heated debate or scandalous commercial but to come together peacefully and accept each other’s differences. What they would think of us now.
After narrowly escaping what I feared was the beginning of the “birds and bees” talk the previous evening with now 7-yr-old Little Baravelli, she surprised me on the way home this past Tuesday when, after explaining to her that she would be joining me at the polls so that I could vote, she asked who I would be voting for. I tried to explain that this is a personal decision and you shouldn’t ask that question. Her innocent voice replied, “Just don’t vote for the woman because she lied!” “How do you know she lied?” I asked, curious as to who at school would have had this discussion in front of children. “I saw it on TV,” she replied.
Can’t they just stay young forever?? Unfortunately, they can’t. So, I took this opportunity as another teaching moment to try to instill some not so young wisdom into the mind of a 7-yr-old. While doing so, I was reminded of why it is my responsibility to vote. In this month of Thanksgiving, I was reminded that I do, indeed, live in a free country, regardless of what is going on in it or around it. The names of the candidates may be littering up my highway and airways, but at least I have a right to choose. There weren’t any riots at my voting polls and everyone in line was having friendly discussions with each other about everyday life, not every day politics. Kindness was in my line as two elderly people with canes were asked to go ahead of everyone else, and no one had a harsh rebuke for it. It didn’t matter that we weren’t all voting the same way. What mattered was that we were all voting. Period. Little Baravelli was excited to go with me and was on her best behavior. She asked appropriate questions and was intent to understand how the process worked, if not why. She even asked the poll worker for a sticker. I’m sure I had a more pleasant experience voting than most. However, I can assure you we will be watching children’s programming tonight and not the news. I can only tolerate so much of the “experience.” I, however, am grateful for my right to vote. The right to take my child with me to take part, in some menial way, in a freedom that many still don’t or can’t participate in and that those before us had to fight for. It is my duty to educate myself on these choices, and not pay attention or get mired down in the dirtiness of the fight. It is also my duty to educate Little Baravelli, as well as Little Baravelli #2, on the process and on being able to discern the truth out of the lies – I’m still working on that one.
So, I encourage us all to participate in the continual change of this great country. Whether our candidate wins this time or not, we will never lose as long as we continue for change and a better future.
You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.