Monday, November 5, 2012

Your consitutional right needs some education ...

I'll probably get a lot of hate mail for this blog post. I'll go ahead and tell you now that at least some of you will not agree with the following words. But I feel like my heart needs to say them  ...

I love the fact that in this country, our people have a direct say in our leadership. I love the passion and intensity that each party inspires. In our own house, Casey is a fervent Libertarian and I, well, I'm a considerable amount more liberal than libertarian. We often have ahem, discussions? arguments? animated talks about policies and legislation that come and go.

We truly cherish the right to vote, to voice our opinions on how we think our towns, state, country should be run.

However, the right to vote is a heavy responsibility, isn't it? The votes that are cast on November 6 don't just shape the lives of the folks you're voting for... they'll shape the lives of people in our country, everywhere. The leaders we'll elect will form policies that may directly impact the day-to-day happenings of our neighbors, of ourselves.

Unfortunately, not all Americans take this responsibility to heart and as a result, they vote like sheep ... meaning that they go with the general opinion of their neighbors, friends, church members.

I'll admit, at one point, I did too. I grew up in a very, very conservative, Southern Baptist home and my parents and grandparents often voiced very conservative opinions. And so, when I turned 18 and participated in my very first election, I was giddy to cast my vote for the candidates that I thought my parents would probably vote for.

Then something happened. We moved to Durham. I branched out a little, I met people who aren't like me. Who have different opinions, different lifestyles from me. AND IT WAS OKAY! When Beatrice Kate came into the picture, I met for the first time same-sex couples who have children together. And guess what? They're pretty amazing parents.

That's why policies like Amendment One here in North Carolina make me so sad. So many people voted for the amendment only because their friends and family voted for it. But I would bet that if those same people actually met a family, like our friends, who are directly impacted by its ramifications or did a little research of their own about it, they might not have voted the same way. 

Recently, I was talking to Bea about one of these children of a same-sex couple. And when Bea asked what her mommy's name was, I told her that So-and-So has two mommies.  I wasn't quite sure what Bea would do with that information but I was so, so proud of her when she said, "Wow. She has TWO mommies?!? She is so lucky!".

Incredible huh? Obviously, Bea has no idea what the impact of having two mommies is, but really who does? All she knows is that having one mommy is pretty great, so clearly having two must be Heaven.

I'm not telling you that story to showcase how amazing or progressive my kid is. I'm telling you because I think we have a lot to learn from children and their ability to see past the differences and look for the positives and strengths in our diversity.

So, when you go to cast your vote on Nov. 6... please don't just think about yourself. Don't vote a certain way because your neighbors are all voting for someone, or because your pastor tells you how you should feel about issues at hand. Vote for what you feel is right, regardless of what party you're registered under.

Do some research and find out what your preferred candidate will likely do during his or her term. Because those policies that they'll create? They won't just affect your life, they impact real people and real families in your town, whether you realize it or not.


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