So I voted today in my very first Presidential Primary. Tomorrow is Primary day in Illinois, as well as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri. I am traveling for work the rest of the week, so in between conference calls, I bundled up in my workout clothes and wogged (aka walk/jogged) 1.7 miles each way to the early voting polling place in my hometown to cast my vote for the first time in my life for a Primary.
I will admit that I’m like one of those fair-weather fans when it comes to politics. I have a big mouth, lots of opinions, and always vote on the BIG day. But, I have never really jumped in and gotten actively involved in the “pre-work.” I have been a lazy American and I have been wrong!
I honestly never really understood the importance of the primaries. I get that they narrow down the field, but it always feels like the front runner was inevitable. Why take time out of the day, when there is never enough time, to vote for someone who will likely win with or without your vote?
But, this year, my opinion…and my behavior changed. And it changed for three different reasons:
1.) My niece
I have a beautiful niece who is a Freshman in college at American University studying political science. She is smart, she is thoughtful, and she spent February in New Hampshire as a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Now, this is not a vote for Hillary blog – though I did. This is real proof of a young mind walking the walk AND talking the talk for something she believes in. If she is stumping in different states for her candidate while going to school full time, then I can damn well get my butt to the polls for 15 minutes to punch my ballot for mine.
2.) My son:
My 9-year old loves to watch the news, something that we try to protect him from, but he is incredibly curious and interested. This year’s presidential election has fascinated him. Last year, in second grade, he really started to grasp the role of the presidency. He wrote about President Obama for a Martin Luther King Day essay, and he has been fascinated with the coverage over the last few months for the Republican and Democratic candidates.
My husband and I don’t talk politics a lot at home. We really don’t! Through basic news coverage, Payton has formed his own opinion of Donald Trump. Potential, the doodle that I found on the back of his weekly spelling test about a month ago gives you an indication of his feelings.
It comes down to a very simple assessment of character, driven by a 9-year old child growing up with a diverse group of friends and family. Donald Trump is “a bully! A mean man who should learn to be kind.” According to Payton, in one of his random conversations with me, “if one of us kids acted and said the things that Trump says, like calling people stupid, they would be sent to the principal’s office.”
So, for my son, who is fascinated by politics, I voted today to lead by example and embrace his interest.
3.) Donald Trump
Donald Trump is absolutely terrifying to me as a presidential candidate, yet he will likely win the nomination. I have so much to say here, but I won’t. Sadly, I know my time will come as we get closer to November.
In primaries, you are also often restricted to vote for the candidates in your party only, so I actually cannot influence the Republican nomination.
However, here’s my challenge to my Republican friends who are as horrified as I am that Trump stands where he does today. Over sixty percent Republicans in this country want nothing to do with Trump. If your primaries haven’t happened yet, PLEASE, please, please get your butts to the polls. Don’t take this primary for granted, as I have so many times.
The reason Trump is winning is because he energizing a base that hasn’t always been vocal. He’s getting people to show up at the poll. You are the ONLY people that can help stop him before it is too late.
Now, I’m officially off my soapbox, but this year, please take the time to vote! It’s your privilege and your duty.