#7 in a series of 8
When you see or hear the word, “Politics,” what’s your first reaction?
When I was a Senior in High School, I asked my Economics teacher, “How do I decide if I am a Democrat or a Republican? Turning 18 on my next birthday, I wanted to be prepared to register to vote. He said, “What are your parents?” I told him they were Republicans. He said, “Then, you are a Republican.” This was 1975. I was in a process of deciding where to go to college, what to study and how to live life as a responsible, informed adult. I was looking for guidance from my elders and that included being prepared to register to vote.
After doing a bit of research at the public library, I registered as a Democrat.
Voting is how we select people to represent us in our community, state, and country. The representatives develop policy and vote for what we value. The votes determine the budget and put policies in place to help each other, like when there are weather tragedies or a pandemic and to support our children through health programs, education and the arts.
The importance of voting was instilled in me from a young age. In my early voting years, I learned to choose a candidate based on my emotions and a few sound bites, listening to a few conversations from a safe distance and casting my vote. Politics was loud and messy and angry. Whenever politics came up at my childhood dinner table, my father would turn red and the veins in his neck would pop out unless everyone agreed with everything he thought. I was a peacemaker, a “we’re all in this together, let’s hold hands and sing Kumbaya” type of person. I learned to stay away from political conversations.
I used to think that people who ran for office were smarter than me. I trusted them to take care of policy and budgets and use their voice to speak up for the people in their community. I was involved in raising kids and working part time to support our household. I focused on volunteering in my community and left politics to others.
When I didn’t feel representation about an issue, like too much testing in the public school system, I made a different choice for my family. The system was too big to change. I took my kids out of school and homeschooled them in community-based learning, joining with…