A witness to history
I made a calculated decision to wait until today to cast my ballot in the election. I wanted to feel the excitement of the day and share it with my 9-month old daughter. Yes, I knew I was taking a chance that we’d have to endure long lines. So I packed some snacks, toys and a sippy cup. I will not follow this mom’s lead and wake my daughter for the election results. Still, I wanted her to have a sense of her place during this election. One day she will be able to say that on Nov. 4, 2008, she was at the polls!
Thankfully, my polling site in New Tampa is never crowded. This morning, we waited in line for about five minutes, just long enough for me to think about why bringing my girl to the polls was so important. This is history. At the end of the day –- prayerfully there will be no election-day meltdowns as there were in 2000 -- Americans will elect either its first black president or its first female vice-president. Politics aside, either would be a wonderful milestone that will have been achieved in my lifetime. I hope this issue of “firsts” will seem so old-school to my daughter when she is old enough to vote. Perhaps by then, we’ll have had several female and/or minority presidents.
As I filled in the ovals for my choice for president, judgeships, amendments and other assorted posts, I told my daughter to pay attention to what mommy was doing. She was more interested in trying to dismantle the cardboard privacy divider at our voting station. As we fed my ballot into the machine, the poll worker told my daughter to look at the machine as it recorded my votes. We were in line next to a man whose son stood by his side as the machine scanned his ballot. Behind us, a mom with a 2 month old pushed her daughter in a stroller. Poll workers proffered “I voted” stickers for parents and children. I resisted the urge to kneel beside the metal polling precinct sign outside and ask someone to take my picture with my girl. But my resolve lasted only until we got to the car. I let my daughter stand up in her car seat while I snapped two photos, each perfectly capturing her sticker. Then, I strapped her in, confident that we’ve got a memory for the scrapbook and have logged the first of many teaching moments.
[Photo: Times files]