Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Why I vote
The original plan for today’s Photo of the Day was a shot of my computer in the wake of election coverage. Elections have become part of my psyche; I have spent countless hours in city council meetings, and school board meetings. I am well versed on the November Tuesday ritual of hanging around a utilitarian public building waiting for election judges to come out of a separate room with a verdict. The first year I voted, was also the first year I covered a national election. In my teen years I helped my father run and win a city council seat and helped with my neighbor’s successful campaign for sheriff. He later became the U.S. Marshall of Wyoming and is now serving on the Wyoming state legislator.
My World War II veteran father taught me that voting and serving on local governing bodies and keeping up with political events was both a privilege and a duty.
I don’t know that this background guided me on my path to be a journalist, but it has certainly influenced my sense of the importance of seemingly unimportant moments in dingy council rooms.
As a result, on one Tuesday in November each year I join in the ritual, gather the results, burn the midnight oil eating pizza and swilling soda so I can let a largely indifferent public know the democratic process is still working.
That was my original plan, and this messy desk is my proof of last night’s work.
But, this morning during the ritual cuddles with my sons, the light was beautiful and I was able to snap these photos of my beautiful children. This photo was so much more interesting than the shot of my messy desk.
Then it occurred to me how these two apparently incompatible subjects dovetail. Were it not for the boring nights of volunteers deciding how much money should be spent on road improvement and the freedom to decide, via elections, rather or not to fluoridate the water, my sons would not be living in this free world.
And, the time may come when I may have to watch my sons, grown up to become men, don the uniform of the U.S. military and go to war to protect this freedom ether for our country or for someone else’s children.
I do not want to send my children to war. I do not want to lose the right to say rather or not I want the government putting florid in my water. So on one Tuesday in November I give up a few minutes to vote, and a few hours of sleep to cover the elections. It seems a pretty small price to pay.