Stand up and be counted

Today is the day to stand up and be counted. My fellow Americans, get out there and vote. My theory is you can’t complain too much about the way your country, state, county and city are being run if you don’t at least take the time to vote for who you want running them.

I know schedules can make it tough to get to the polls. If that is the case, you may want to consider an absentee ballot for the next election. I voted that way for years when my husband was in the service and it worked well.

In a way, I’m still doing the same thing. I live in a town that doesn’t have polling sites — we have mail-in ballots. We used to get cool little pencils with our ballots, but not any more. Budget cuts, I suppose. It’s kind of sad. I liked the little pencils.

I know that voting is supposed to be a solitary activity, done in private, but at my house it was done a little differently when the kids were somewhat younger. In committee, I guess you could call it. We would all sit down with the ballots and discuss the voting process, talk about the different offices and some of the candidates.

 Eventually my husband Eric and I would fill out our ballots, sometimes letting the kids know who we chose and sometimes keeping that information to ourselves. We also discussed why we were choosing certain candidates, why we felt certain ways about issues, and why we felt voting was important. I always thought it was a good way to get our children interested in the voting process, yet let them choose for themselves how involved they wanted to get in the political aspect of things.

I know our oldest son was quite miffed he missed the last presidential election by a month because of his age. Our youngest son has the same problem this year, but he doesn’t seem to be as concerned.

The only thing bad about the mail ballots is we don’t get to wear the cool “I voted” sticker that the people who go to the polls get. Maybe they should put those in the envelopes, especially since we don’t get the little pencils anymore.

You know what the truly great thing is about today? Besides the whole democracy thing and being part of the process, I mean.

Today is also hopefully the day that means an end to the mailbox-clogging flyers, mud-slinging commercials and annoying phone calls from poll takers. These things are even more agitating when you voted a month ago — believe me.

Alas, we will probably have to listen to another couple months of recrimination and finger pointing, demands for recounts and accusations of shenanigans and tomfoolery. Then the stumping will begin for Election 2012.

Am I the only one that seems to think election never ends?