I have this friend who is absolutely sick of public speaking any more. I don’t blame them really, but if I could take their place and really make a statement, I’d say something like this.
My children are the greatest gifts ever given to me. They’re my children and one of the best things about either of my children is that sometimes they have a better view of things than I do. They have no problem sharing that idea with me either.
One of the greatest lessons taught me by my son Andrew in the arena of politics took place maybe 7-8 years ago. He arrived home and stomped in the door insisting we had to talk right away. He had caught an outright lie in a campaign and he wanted to go meet with this candidate right away and tell them they are WRONG. I ask for the “supporting proof” on this claim and he tossed me a copy of the Kitsap Sun. I find article in question and start reading.
Perhaps a couple of paragraphs in, I see what my son is referring to. I don’t have any good positive way to explain why or how this event took place. I don’t even have an idea as to if the candidate in question was going to recover from the blatant lies. My son’s staring me down. I know he wants an answer. I think carefully because I want this to be a positive learning experience for him.
I skim the article one more time and I’m just floored that this person would say such things without fact checking themselves. Then I remembered that elected officials are just as human as you and me. They’re gonna make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Gosh, what was I going to say?
I decide to start with the nice happy “we’re all human and we’re not infallible” answer. I finished with words to the effect of “well, when we are more concerned with making a statement as opposed to checking the validity of our statement, nono wait. When we vote based on statements instead of facts, that’s where we end up hurting ourselves in the end.”
I was reminded of this conversation the other night listening to presentations. I thought about Drew and I thought about the sorts of things he’d say if he was standing right next to me. I smiled.
This year, I’m going to remind you that your vote is your voice. You may not quite see it that way, but when you educate yourself about the candidates and the issues, and that education is put to use when checking ballot boxes, you are helping to shape and form our future. For our children. For generations to come. Have you registered to vote yet? Please make that commitment to register and to vote this year. Every year. Because your opinion matters, even if you don’t think it does.
(Oh I would need a few rewrites, but this is generally what I’d be discussing..)