Not many kids can say that a major part of family dinner conversation was about politics, and the right to vote. My parents were avid debaters, obviously, my Father was a pretty incredible negotiator, in fact, he was so good at it, you didn’t realize you had agreed to something until you were shaking hands, or signing on the doted line.
I grew up never knowing who my Father voted for, strange for some, but in the diplomatic world, it isn’t surprising. There is a code, you can complain about decisions, but you never actually bad mouth the governing party or the leader. So, I knew where my Father stood on many issues, he was very open about his thoughts on gay marriage, women’s rights to their own body and abortion, but if I ever asked who he voted for, he would smile and ask “who would you vote for?”
Getting a driver’s licence, being able to legally drink never mattered to me. I just wanted to be able to vote! I turned 18 in boarding school, it was election time, and I panicked not knowing if I could register to vote. I called my Father at the office, he was startled that I was calling him in the middle of the day, at the office (I think he could hear the long distance bill). I explained I didn’t have a permanent address, how could I miss being able to vote, I NEEDED TO VOTE.
I heard a chuckle. I thought it was kind of mean for him to laugh at my desire to vote.
He could stop chuckling as he said in the phone “you will have your package tomorrow.” WHAT??
He had to get off and run to a meeting without finishing the explanation.
I stewed for the whole day. No one at school seemed to care about the election. We were in a tiny town, the capital city was far away, and really, most of my friends wouldn’t understand my need to vote.
The next day, I was called into the office during break. I walked in, and there was the head master’s assistant, a little surly, she didn’t like my kind. She handed me a DHL envelope.
I looked at it, opened it, and realized, my Father had arranged for me to vote. All diplomats and their of age children can vote.
I cried, I shook, I was beyond excited. If I had an Iphone, I would have probably taken the only selfie that mattered, my first time voting!
So, when I hear people talking about not voting, not caring. I don’t understand, you can’t complain about anything in life, when you live in a country where everyone has the right to vote. Votes matter.