Growing up in the US, democracy is a principle we're ingrained with. Being an immigrant to the US, it also becomes a principle that is not easily taken for granted. Democratic values are in the core of who we are, almost from the beginning. We're taught the importance of choice and of exercising that choice. We're taught the importance of voting and the act of doing so. We're taught the importance of taking part in the process that determines leaders and rights and ways of life.
I’ve been day dreaming about you lately. Family nostalgia leads me back to the early 1940s. Though I wasn’t alive, bits of history from loved ones, and my own wandering imagination, help to put words to your story.
I’m trying to imagine how your hands used to wrap around the crude stem of the hand-hoe to slowly open and work the earth, or the way they tenderly held the soft, warm flesh of the dairy cow’s teats to gently ease out your daily ration of milk.
Last night, with my 22-month-old daughter in my arms and another due-in-one-month baby girl in the belly, I exercised my franchise. As always, I felt a surge of pride stepping into that voting booth. My husband and I carefully explained to our daughter what it meant that we were voting. Mommy and Daddy are embracing our civic duty, participating in our community, working to shape the future – a right and a responsibility, etc. She mostly ignored us and set about affixing the “I voted!” stickers to different parts of our heads and faces, but we trust she’ll get it one day. Still and all, I struggle to remain engaged with this democracy and maintain a sense that my children will know even greater progress than I have experienced in my life.