Dear Atticus, on participating in the political process

A brief side note: I wrote the post at Melissa’s place today about the Great Pumpkin Party, so perhaps you’d like to go see that.

We voted.

Dear Atticus,

Yesterday I took you to vote! Not that I could have gone without you, I suppose. But hooray for participating in the political process!

Your dad and I have both chosen to register as unaffiliated voters. We do not align with one particular party. I grew up hearing from my own dad that politicians are all a bunch of jokers. He didn’t really believe in voting, but I disagree with him. I think it’s important to let your voice be heard, even if you vote for the Libertarian guy (which I have done before). I am proud and thankful to live in a country where I have a voice, especially as a woman. I don’t want to take that for granted. So we will probably take you to vote with us even when you are not living inside of me, just as my mom often took us to vote with her.

We are also unaffiliated because we don’t actually believe our political parties or the political process can fix what is wrong with the world. That’s not to say that we don’t have preferences, because we do. Obviously. Or we wouldn’t vote. But, in the end, I don’t believe that government is the answer to all (or even most) of our problems. Our government does a lot of good things, even if it is run by a bunch of jokers. I believe, though, that the power to change things lies elsewhere, within people who are compelled by something more than just idealism and good intentions. I am thankful to live in a democracy and for all the freedom it gives me. But the power to change things ultimately comes, I believe, from God. He uses human beings to change things, compels us with his love, and I think it’s important to be a part of that. Sometimes he uses humans within the political systems, but sometimes he just asks us to do what is right. To remember his teachings and live out of compassion and to fight injustice.

Politics can be dehumanizing, and I think God asks us to care about people. So I try to donate time and money to people and places that need it. And I vote, trying to work within the American system to exact change. It is part of what faith looks like for me, this idea that we can bring change through the system without having to believe wholly in the system. Over the next 18 years, we will talk to you a lot about the ballots we cast, but we promise that when you decide to vote, we won’t get mad at you if you choose to vote differently than we do. Your dad and I don’t even always cast the same vote.

I vote because of you, too. I did even when I wasn’t sure you would ever exist. I voted on Tuesday because I want to make the best future for you that I can. But I don’t get stressed out if the result is different than what I would like, because, ultimately, I believe in something more than just Republicans and Democrats, red and blue states.

Besides, if I don’t like how it turns out, there’s always next time. And I’ll even let you wear the sticker.

Love,
Mama

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