On Illini Family Politics, I wrote an article, "Why We Parents Must Vote," that states part of my case for voting this year. I have a special message for moms, though. Your voice, in particular, needs to be heard in this election.
As a mother, I am convinced that this presidential election is a pivotal event for our nation. For me, it represents the opportunity to bring our priorities as moms to the forefront of the national agenda. Education, health care, and an end to the war in Iraq are important to me. I am also firmly committed to social justice and alleviating poverty. The economy, energy policy, protecting the environment are vital to our future -- to my children's future. These are my priorities. I understand they are not shared by all. Still, they are the issues that are important to me and important to my family.
I send a message about my priorities by voting.
I have voted in every election since I turned 18. I even bring my children to the polls. They have never been unwelcome (in fact, they are usually doted upon by the wonderful volunteers at our local polling station.) My children enjoy the outing, and learn something in the process. Even if we have to wait in line, there is always a sense that they are being involved in important work -- the work of our country.
If you feel uncomfortable bringing your children to the polls, you can vote while they are in school. If you have preschoolers, you can arrange to meet other moms you trust at the polls and rotate who goes in to vote and who keeps the children playing outside. Polling places are often schools or community centers with places for children to play. But if the weather is bad, bring them in with you. Having children is an important part of who a mom is; there is no reason that they would not be welcome, provided they respect what is going on inside. So, talk to them and take this rare opportunity to teach them something they can learn best from you.
If your child is sick, there has never been a better reason to get an impromptu babysitter. Do not be afraid to ask. I have watched neighbors' children so that they could vote. Call grandma to come over for a half hour to give you the opportunity to go to the polls. Trust me, she will say "yes."
When moms vote, we tell our government how we want it to run for the next four years. In addition to the presidential race, there are local races that will have a direct effect on our lives in our states, cities, and towns. Moms voices need to be heard nationally and locally. Don't just be a bystander.
So, please vote. Your views are so important. Take a break from work, or the kids, or the grandkids, make an appointment to make your voice heard.