Every Vote Counts

My parents never missed an election, but they didn’t like to talk politics. “My vote is my business, not yours,” they’d say. No exceptions. To this day I have no idea who or which political party they believed in.

So when it comes to this year’s contest, I can’t say for sure on which side they’d fall. But I can wager a few educated guesses.

Dad was very Catholic, traditionally minded, and protective of his family. When I was about 14 a man used a swear in my presence  — “That’s no way to speak in front of a young woman!” Dad rebuked him. Dad voting for Orange Julius Caesar? Inconceivable.

I didn’t lose Mum till I was 40, so we had a few conversations here and there. She had sharp comments for most politicians, but she favored gay marriage and believed the government had no business interfering with a woman’s autonomy over her own body.

In fact, she thought the government had no business doing a lot of things. Probably she’d find a lot of common ground with Libertarians.

Her father didn’t believe women needed school, or that they should wear pants. Her mother only had a third grade education, but made sure her daughter graduated high school, and sewed shorts inside her skirts.

When Dad died, Mum went to business school, wrote her first resume, and found a full-time job in medical referrals. Surely she’d recognize that core of strength in HRC, and cast her vote for another woman who knows how to get things done.

My parents aren’t here, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. But I wish we’d talked more about these larger questions while we could.

Politics aren’t just politics. How we govern our country affects none so deeply as the powerless, and our vote shouldn’t only be about what’s best for our own backyard.

I love HRC’s wonky brain. I admire the life she has devoted to public service. And when I cast my vote tomorrow for the smartest, most qualified candidate in history, who just so happens to be a woman, I’ll be thinking of both my parents, and my grandparents, and also my kids, this next generation that’s inheriting a world of trouble, and possibility.

I’ll be thinking of how progress trips over its own feet sometimes, and how sometimes it finds wings.

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