As we walked out of the polling location, you grabbed my hand and casually declared “only 8 more years and 15 days until I can vote”. My initial thought was, “well, with an early November birthday, you might have to wait 12 years”. (Any other mamas out there grasping at straws any time your kids start growing up too fast?) We consulted the calendar. In 2028 the first Tuesday of November falls exactly two days before your 18th birthday. So indeed, you do get to vote.
And then it hit me.
That is only in two more elections. Two. In a year that has seemed nothing but political, a time in which I’ve been trying to shield you from all of the ugliness, I now realize that in just two more short election cycles you will be stepping up to the ballot box and placing your vote as a young adult. Two more cycles. Two.
Everyone always talks about your 18 summers, but what about the fact that you only have 4-5 election cycles before you become a voting member of society? As much as I’d rather stay in my little “no politics” bubble, I’d be doing you, and our country, a disservice by not having these important discussions with you.
As hard as it is sometimes, I must talk to you in unbiased language that empowers you to draw your own conclusions and make your own decisions. There is so much more to politics than we are currently witnessing and experiencing. Together we can explore humanity, values, beliefs, cultural differences, education, the environment, history, democracy, finance, current events, social responsibility, and patriotism. We can talk about politics in a way you can understand it so that you are equipped to make your own choices when you enter that polling location to elect a president two elections from now.
Ask questions, little one. Seek truth, strive for understanding. Together we will learn how to think critically and decipher fact amongst conflicting information.
Think for yourself. You will hear and see a million different opinions, but in the end, you have to decide for yourself what you think is best.
Err on the side of humanity. You can learn from and even befriend others who think and live very differently from you. Above all, we’re human beings who deserve to be treated as such.
Keep learning. You are a bright child with a passion for education. Never let that fire burn out.
Speak your truth. Speak your mind, yet remain kind. Stand up for what you believe in while remaining respectful, well-read and honest.
See the world in all of its beautiful colors and hues. Very little is black and white.
Well, except for the fact that I only have two more election cycles to teach you all of these things.
Two more. Two.