Election 2012: Do You Vote With Your Kids In Mind?Serge Bielanko
It has arrived.
The slow rising waters of another presidential campaign year have crested the banks, trickled over the sand bags, and at this very moment, are inching their way up our living room walls.
The messages and the accusations, the plans and the promises, the nastiness and the endless attempts at convincing, it’s all here now, gushing out of every TV and computer in the country, whether we like it or not.
This past week, sitting on my couch and watching some CNN, I finally realized that I couldn’t really tune it out much anymore. That time has come and gone. In a world gone hog-wild with smearing personal opinions over every possible electric screen, to try and dodge the lightning would be pointless and frustrating.
So, I acquiesce.
But, it’s cool.
I mean, I want to vote and I intend to vote and I am interested in who is saying what now in the final few months that lead up to the big day, so I understand that it is time to listen and contemplate. And to decide.
Yet, as a parent of two young children, there seems to be more on my plate now than ever before.
This year, for the first time in my life, I will vote for a President to lead a country that isn’t important just because I live here and work here, and will probably die here, but also because I now have kids who wake up every single morning here. And in the months and years and decades to come, they, too, will more than likely learn here and dream here and chase down their own futures right here.
Thus, I’m wrestling more with the idea of collective good this year than I really ever have before. Because, let’s face it, the “American Dream” is something that we’re supposed to want even more for our children than we do for ourselves, right? The whole concept is supposed to be that it gets better and better, over time, as we learn from our mistakes and move forward toward a better day.
At least, that’s how I see it.
So, considering that I have a vote and my kids do not yet, it has dawned on me over the past few weeks that my wife and I will be voting for them too this year, and not just for ourselves, as we had in the past. What I mean is, whoever I might decide to try and put in the Oval Office will be the guy who is still there, who’s still leading the charge, when my daughter heads off to kindergarten, and when my son is pretty damn close to it.
Somehow, that carries a lot of weight for me. Somehow, it makes things matter that much more.
The election year flood carries in it’s rumbling midst all of the hot-button words that get tossed around come decision time: taxes/ jobs/welfare reform/ debt/immigration and a slew of other ones, all fighting the tough currents as they flap their helpless hands in the air and hoped to get rescued somehow.
For me then, I know what I’m beginning to think about. I’m thinking about what path I want to see us take to help make the country a way better place for these two children of mine, and hopefully, for every kid, rich or poor, who will be walking down the same high school halls/ the same city streets as my kids will be walking down before too long.
Each of us has to make our own decisions about all of this stuff, that much is certain.
But, for me now, I feel a new-found, vested interest in the way things turn out.
To be honest, I feel as if there is way more at stake now, as a dad in living America in 2012, than I have ever felt before.
How about you? Will you picture your kids and their future when you cast your ballot in November?
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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