The children’s book in this picture is one that my family actually owns, along with a companion book about the Declaration of Independence. Published in the 80s, my mother-in-law tells me they were bedtime reading for my husband as a child, which explains a lot! He and I went on to meet as college student interns working in a political office in Washington, D.C., and we’ve both worked in and around politics and public policy ever since. Go figure!
I pulled this book off the shelf as part of my kids’ bedtime routine this week. It seemed only fitting as we’re in the thick of one of the most – ahem – interesting presidential elections I can remember. Naturally you can imagine how riveting The Story of Presidential Elections is to a one- and two-year-old, but still… As we flipped through the pages a couple things occurred to me.
First, my perspective on a lot of things has changed now that I have a family, and my opinion in public discourse is not just valuable – it’s needed. As moms we’re molding who our little people will become, and likewise, we should be concerned about shaping the world they’ll live in.
“Shape the world,” you ask? “That sounds like a lot of pressure.” It’s actually not.
While there’s no end to the number of public causes we can throw ourselves into, there’s one simple thing we can do – this month even – to do our part. Go vote! If you’re on the early voter list you should have received your ballot in the mail for Arizona’s presidential preference election coming up on March 22nd. If you’re not on the early voter list, but you are registered to vote, you can go to a polling location on Election Day. If you’re reading this and you realize you’re not registered to vote, you can still cast your ballot in the August primary election or November general election by registering here.
Closer to home (and maybe to heart), we moms have another chance to exercise our right to vote in a special election on May 17th, when Arizona voters will decide on Proposition 123. This measure proposes to put additional funds from the state’s land trust toward K-12 education. Prior to having kids, education wasn’t my number one policy issue, but it’s definitely climbing as my little ones get closer to school age. You can read more about Prop 123 here, as well as check out citizen arguments submitted for and against.
My kids are little, but as they get older I want them to see the importance of civic engagement. It’s not only one of our greatest privileges as a free society; it is also our greatest responsibility. I want to model for my kids how to effectively, and with grace, stand up for the values we hold dear in our family. Whether this means taking a position that may or may not be popular, or loving and respecting those who don’t share our opinion; I want my kids to care about things that matter and be willing to fight for them.
Now, if you’re feeling inspired, go mail-in that early ballot you received but set aside, talk to your kids about their favorite candidate, or go register to vote. Azsos.gov has all the info you need on this year’s elections.