Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Evening 2006: A Family Event

The last thing the girls said to me when they got out of the car at school this morning was, "Don't forget to vote!" Tonight The Younger Daughter decorated her new rinsing cup with the word "Vote!" around its rim and mock election returns on the sides. This is what happens when a family sits around the television watching the incoming election statistics the way it watches its favorite movies.

I understand that Missouri's senatorial race is one of national interest. Certainly its stem cell initiative is. As I write, Great Scott calls out numbers from the next room, numbers that don't really mean very much yet, with only 5% reporting. Both matters are going to be exceedingly close. One thing that the Talent/McCaskill race and the stem cell initiative have done is to increase voter turnout in this state; estimates thus far are higher than they've been since the 1994 election, we heard on the news tonight. Evidently some locations were unprepared. Near Joplin, a shortage of ballots necessitated photocopying ballots that will have to be hand counted, so Missouri's final tally may not be known until tomorrow morning.

I was 2 months old, so the family legend goes, when my grandfather sat me on his knee and asked, "How's my little Republican today?" Most of my family (ok, all of them that I know of) are Republicans, although not so adamantly as was my grandfather, and I was certainly raised from a Republican viewpoint. That said, I was also raised (by my very rational and logical father) to find out the facts and think hard about them, to recognize ways that political ads (on both ends of the spectrum) twist and use facts to a particular politician's advantage, and to not ever simply turn off my brain. I don't vote a straight party ticket (Sorry, Grandpa), and I'm not entirely happy with everything that's gone on in this administration. As a matter of fact, I don't know that "Republican" is an entirely apt description, although "Democrat" wouldn't be, either.

It would be my hope that as our girls grow up, they'll stay interested and enthusiastic about doing their research and voting, even if their views don't coincide with my own. What I would most like for them to do is to think, to consider what is said and what is strategically not said and to carefully form their conclusions and decisions. It's a family tradition, after all.

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