Fatherhood: Week 25-Election Day
Yesterday I asked my coworkers if they were going to vote. Several said they were not.
"The race is decided already," they said.
They had a point. We live in Arizona, a traditionally red state. Yet I could not relate to their reasoning. There was a chance Hillary Clinton could turn Arizona blue. I did not ask who they supported, but I wish they would have made their voice heard regardless.
I left work puzzled. I could not wait to vote when I turned 18. It was the next step in becoming an adult. I loved politics and having a voice in the direction of our country. It is a privilege, and I want to instill respect for that privilege into my son one day.
As a parent who wants to encourage civic awareness, I need to prove to my son that his vote does count, even in the aftermath of an election cycle that suggests otherwise.
For example, Wikileaks released hacked emails allegedly proving there were efforts to silence my vote. Those in power in the Democratic party obviously did not want Bernie Sanders to win the nomination. They did everything they could to give Hillary Clinton an edge. If even I, a middle-class white male, am starting to feel disenfranchised, how can I show my son that voting is important?
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump told voters the system was rigged against him. He called for his supporters to intimidate other voters. What is stopping a future candidate from using such outrageous rhetoric to scare away voters? How can I prove to my son voting is not something to fear?
As I saw the results come in, it felt like the media was intent on putting people into boxes with statistics: uneducated white male; Hispanic female; educated African-American. I started to feel like a piece of data. How can I show my son he is more than a number when Scott Pelley wants to show me who we are in the form of a bar graph? All a politician has to do to win is find the biggest interest group and say what they want to hear.
If I said and did half the things Trump did at my job, I wouldn't get promoted. I would be fired on the spot. Somehow I have to teach my son that despite evidence to the contrary, sexual harassment, willful ignorance, stereotyping, and bigotry are wrong. Trump obtained the most important job in the world by displaying these negative traits without shame.
The people voted. I respect their decision despite not agreeing with the result. I struggle to remain optimistic anticipating what will happen in the next four years. I hope that our system of checks and balances works as it has for the last 240 years. I am eager to prove to my son that our government works despite the behavior of those who run it. One day, he will know his vote counts