Last night I watched the vice presidential debate in horror – perhaps in even more horror than the first presidential debate of the 2016 election season.
When did the fighting get so loud that we stopped listening to each other?
To resolve the tensions in our nation, it will take more than career and wannabe politicians at each other’s throats for the sake of an irresistible sound bite. And don’t we as citizens deserve more?
If I’m honest, I want Tim Kaine. In 2007, following the shootings at Virginia Tech, I remember the goosebumps he produced on my legs (and likely so many others’) during his speech at the memorial convocation:
Despair is a natural emotion at a time like this. They’re all natural, they’re all appropriate but let me ask one thing of you, this community, as you wrestle with your sadness, as you wrestle with your own feelings of anger… do not lose hold of that spirit of community that makes Virginia Tech such a special place. Do not lose hold of that.
I was hooked. Even though I was a registered Republican, I was inspired to put my political faith behind this former missionary and charismatic leader.
Only you’re not supposed to vote with your emotions. No, you’re supposed to use your head as well. In recent years, I feel as though I have ricocheted from the threat of a great border wall to the walls I want to build around myself. Don’t we all just want a little shelter from this storm?
Well, to be frank, I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired of being afraid of what others will think. Perhaps most importantly, I’m tired of fearing I will only add to the fire.
I am a mother, and I will fight for a better future for my children. I want to vote for someone with my same tenacity – an overwhelming desire for change…even when it requires the hard and unpopular things.
Voting refusal is not in my DNA. A vote is a gift and a privilege that each of us should exercise. This is why my husband and I hold our children in our arms at the polls.
They are watching us.
And one day, likely when they are grown, my children will most certainly ask me about this epic season of insults and interruptions: For whom did you vote, Mom?
At this, I will hold my head high and unashamedly reply:
I voted for a candidate, not against a candidate. I didn’t allow the media to shape my narrative. And when the writing was on the wall, I chose to read it with my own eyes. Every vote is a chance – a gamble we make on our children’s future. This mother’s vote was for Johnson. And the peace I found amidst the shouting is the peace I hope to give to you.
One Year Ago: The Ghost of Opportunity Lost