Posted by: Grub | May 3, 2011

First Election Day

Sam attended his first election today. It was miserable and rainy, but we were pretty happy to be able to participate in the democratic process.

Interestingly though, Sam was not permitted to accompany me into the voters’ “booth” while I marked an x in the box with my golf pencil (I had to leave him in his stroller at the check-in desk).

Were they worried that I was going to let him vote instead of me? Were they worried that we were going to sneak in a ballot that wasn’t ours from inside the depths of his rain-soaked stroller and trade it out for my own? Were they worried that he was going to be trying to lean out and back while I was voting, to check out what box other voters were marking with their respective golf pencils, so that he could report back to me once we got home who that elderly lady in the green hat voted for? I really couldn’t come up with a good answer for that one. I also got conflicting reports about whether or not we could take a picture of Sam with our election clerks (at least one was an adamant no), so we took it outside in the rain. I think we lose sight of what is important sometimes.

The election result aside (sigh), it was a good day. I always find it frustrating in the lead up to an election to hear people talking about not voting, when not only did many groups in Canada have to work hard and sacrifice to obtain the right to vote, but there are people in other countries around the world right now dying for the right to have a say in the government of their country. I always take a moment after I have put my ballot into the box to think about the brave women back in 1918, who fought for the right to vote and could only imagine their daughters’ daughters’ daughters wheeling up to their local polling station on a rainy day in May with sons (!) in tow, marking that x and making their vote count (and my riding was close enough at some points tonight that I actually feel like it did).

I worry about the state of democracy both in our country and around the world these days, but I am hopeful that if we all keep returning to the polls year after year with our sons (and daughters) in tow, our children will learn that democracy should be deeply valued, and not dismissed lightly by those who find it an mere inconvenience in the pursuit of power.  Them’s pretty big words and ideas for an eight-month-old, I know, but we’re starting small for now – a photo of a smiling little boy at his first polling station.  (And, although you can’t see her, his mom is behind the camera, trying to imagine his sons’ sons’ sons heading off to vote, with baby daughters in tow.)

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Responses

  1. Yay Sam!! Weird about having to leave him outside – both kids came right up to the booth with me and Kailey couldn’t stop talking the whole time, reading out the names on the ballot, verifying for me who I was in fact voting for!! Ummmm Kailey, remember when I told you this was a SECRET ballot LOL!! I think it’s cool we took our kids to vote. My vote (within my riding), definitely didn’t make a difference – talk about a landslide victory, I think Kenney won by about 30,000 votes, but I still exercised my right to vote and hopefully taught my kids something about that importance as well.
    I still can’t get over how many seats changed hands last night and am interested to see how these results change the political landscape in our country – wow, I sound like a freaking newscaster!!!!

  2. Proud to see that our daughters/son are all voters in our great country, even though, as a family, our politics are not necessarily all aligned. Thanks, too, for introducing our grandchildren to our democratic rights and responsibilities at an early age. Have a great day!

  3. I really liked reading this!


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