The first time I remember voting I was in my daddy’s arms. I think it was at the Youth Building, but memories get mixed up in those back-storage files, so it is hard to tell. At first, I remember standing on tip-toes trying to see what he was doing. Then he lifted me up and told me which circle I could color. I’m sure he probably broke the protocol for such things – maybe even the law, but I never forgot.
Mom took me another time. I was a little older, and I think it might have been at the Fire Department. She told me we were going to vote, and that I had to be quiet because it was very important. For some reason, I remember looking at my black patent leather shoes and seeing my mother’s face reflected in one of them as she concentrated on her choices.
Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that voting was pretty important to our family. There were always political buttons being passed out at the Loudonville Fair, being worn on clothes until the first Tuesday in November, and later when they landed in the sewing baskets, I could play with them and put them on my dollies.
President Eisenhower was the first president I remember. When President Kennedy was running for office, it was huge. There were lots of discussions at home about voting. After all, being the first Catholic person to run for president was a big deal, and everyone had an opinion on it – even in our small village. I listened to a lot of it. Yawned through even more of it. But it sunk in – voting was important.
When mom decided to run for village clerk after driving the dry cleaning truck around town for several years, that was also a big deal. Dad and I would go to meetings with her. Help her practice her speeches. Walk around town to hang up posters. Ride around in a car with a great big sign on it. On on that first Tuesday in November, I got to see first hand how important voting could be. Mom won and worked harder than I ever saw anyone ever work.
Someday, I will have to write something “profound” on how that job changed our lives, but tonight’s focus needs to remain on this – voting is important. The last two rounds of campaigns have been ugly. But from what I have read in history and through biographies, this has been true ever since President Washington gave his farewell address.
Today, I was reading lots of history trying to decide what books I would be using in my library class. Our character word for the month is “gratitude”. Makes a lot of sense since we have Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day coming up. 6 Nations prayers and stories [Iroquois]. Pilgrims first few years. Magna Carta. Plymouth Rock. Crispus Attucks. Moina Belle Michael. George Washington. Then got a little sidetracked by a stack of fiction books all piled in a corner waiting to be catalogued.
That’s what happens when you work with a bunch of books – ya get sidetracked.
Luckily, I know a Father who doesn’t get side-tracked ever. Ever since we walked in a garden and got lost, He has kept His focus on opening a narrow pathway back to Him. As I read several Native American stories today, I couldn’t help but marvel at how similar stories always seem to be pointing at a pathway – a pathway leading home. Be it the Great Spirit or the Wise One, GOD speaks to all of us in language that we can understand because He wants us to “come home”. We have that freedom to walk the path – or not.
Today, we had the freedom to vote – or not. We had the freedom to pray for our choices – or not. We had the freedom to post positive memes – or not. We had the choice to listen to the Spirit speak to hearts – or not. While the seen and unseen principalities are always warring with each other, we always have the choice to believe – or not. Voting is important. But faith? Faith is beyond important.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.d 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”~Ep 6:12-19