Time to vote!

My folks didn’t engage in political discussions when I was growing up on the farm. They kept their thoughts to themselves or talked with each other out of range of hearing by us kids or they talked with their friends.

In fact, there are only three events related to political figures I can recall from my years on the farm. President Eisenhower came to Iowa once and my folks went to see him. We kids stayed at home. When mom returned, her only comment was that the President was much shorter than she had imagined. When John F. Kennedy was running for President, there was some discussion about whether the Pope would be running the White House should Kennedy be elected. We were Lutheran, so this was a concern. Finally, when President Kennedy was assassinated, we all were horrified and we joined the nation, glued to our television sets for the funeral ceremonies.

But even though my folks didn’t talk politics and even though they missed some obvious opportunities to engage us kids in political discussions, they always voted. And they took us with them to vote. They made sure we knew voting was what a good citizen did.

The voting booths held considerable mystery for me. When a voter stepped into a curtained booth, she pulled a lever that closed the curtain behind her. Closing the curtain activated the ballot. Each candidate was selected by pushing a lever to one side or the other. The vote was counted when the voter pulled the lever to open the curtain.

Mom took us kids right into the voting booth with her.  I stood leaning against Mom’s side and watched in silence as she made her selections. It didn’t take long. She was a straight ticket voter her whole life. Still, the mystery and the importance of voting were impressed upon my mind from the earliest years of my life.

I miss the curtained booths. Our voting booths are little tables with plastic walls to shield my decisions from others’ eyes. I slide my completed ballot into a machine that tells me how many people voted before me. It’s a simple thing to do – voting. Voting is my right. It’s my responsibility. And it’s time to do it again. Today. Vote.

* Image courtesy of Comstock Photos

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