My Dearest Son,
As you prepare to go to the polls for the first time tomorrow, I want you to keep in mind the power of your vote.
Back in 2020, our election went off the rails and people kinda lost their minds over things no one could have foreseen even a year before.
Sadly, the whole conversation was about the faces and personalities on the ticket, and not enough about the philosophy of those of us who had to vote for them.
Yes, it is important that leaders have integrity and character. But the most important thing about leaders is that they lead, right? Can Person A inspire people to do things? Will things be better, in your opinion, if Person B is in charge? Still… if your person doesn’t seem to have a moral compass, or lies, cheats and steals, and—yet—is still in charge, what do you do?
You don’t take it personally. Voting for a person does not make you that person. Just like the people who say “We won the Super Bowl!” —no, you didn’t. The 11 people on the field did. Similarly, I’m glad Mr. Trump won; but I knew no Trump-day prize would show up in my mailbox.
While Trump demonstrated some distasteful personal behavior and Biden didn’t do much of anything that directly contradict what he said or did earlier in his career, I never felt like voting for either made me a clone. I simply voted for the person who represented values I found to be important; protecting borders and Americans, supporting the military, and boosting domestic businesses. I wasn’t voting for father of the year. I voted for your future.
I never considered voting for Joe just because he put a woman on the ticket. I think we were way past the point, even back then, where a woman in or near the White House would have been shocking. Women had certainly broken through the ceiling to a great degree already.
It is not required that your choice for President be a universal role model for you, or the kind of person you aspire to be. I would prefer that you emulate a person you do know, and might possibly mentor you personally someday.
Fortunately, we have plenty of decent and wonderful leaders here at home whom I would be delighted for you to choose as a role model. There’s a Judge right here in our county whom I have never known to commission a study or convene a committee when there is real work to be done. He just sees a problem and fixes it without argument or fanfare. That is a man you might actually shake hands with, and I hope you would look to him for advice. You can talk to him face to face rather than seeing what people on Facebook think.
Still, the person sitting in the Oval Office has a whole different job to do, so if he or she is not a combination of the Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Jefferson, it’s still okay to support that person. Do you prefer the country spends its money on tanks instead of social programs? Or if you someday think we should share our money and our trade in a different way, you can vote for some progressive people. It’s your call.
That’s my biggest hope son; if you’re going to vote, decide what matters to you and vote for that result, not that person. But when you do, make sure to know why you are doing it. Read and listen and find out what you need to know, so when you’ve cast that vote, you can defend it and stand up for it.
Many a time I made a statement and wanted to take it right back because no one wants to hear “because I think it’s better.” With a few facts, you can say “It’s better this way because…”
This country continues to be a great experiment and we likely wouldn’t be where we are if the balance of power had not shifted a dozen or more times in the last 252 years.
Even you can be President someday, if you want. Whether it’s the PTA or the United States, I hope you’ll ignore the bellwether yammering of what everyone thinks you should do, and you’ll choose for yourself whom you would like to emulate. No one will ever feel like they had to settle for you.
Much love, Mom