November 2, 2010

Vote Here

On the edge of our yard, where the crossroads meet, there is a hill that is the highest spot on our land. Every time I leave home, be it to the grocery store or to fly around the world for a couple of weeks, this is the sight I see as I turn the corner... Seven happy faces smiling and waving and shouting their love and well wishes to me.   It makes me choke up every time.  They run down the yard, following the road until our property ends.

This afternoon, when Allen and I left for a three day business trip to Boston, there was no exception.  It makes my heart so full to see their love toward us and hear their happy voices one last time before we head out.

Okay, they don't usually bring a flag and wave a political sign.  Being election day, they are feeling particularly patriotic.

Which brings me to the real point here.  I have always taken real pride in my right to vote and taken very seriously the responsibility of every American to be informed and cast a wise vote.  I always get goosebumps as I cast my ballot.  This year even more so, as our oldest child joined us at the polls to  step into the ranks of Americans exercising their privilege to have a say.
Being her first election, Kaitlin took the whole deal very seriously.  Studying the candidates and even emailing them to get answers to her questions.

Although, this was a particularly thrilling election season for the whole family.  Even those who won't be able to vote for more than a decade, took an intense interest in our local races.

Volunteering for Senator Mooney turned out to be an amazing experience for everyone.  I am glad we made that decision, even if it did take up a great deal of time, as we feared it might.

After so many hours and days of signing, folding, stuffing, sealing, addressing and stamping thousands of letters to voters...
and postcards to gather supporters,
making yard signs to distribute in the voting districts,
making phone calls to answer questions and remind people to get out and vote,
walking the neighborhoods to knock on doors and distribute literature,  the whole clan felt they had a personal stake in the way things turned out.  I don't think they will ever take lightly their civic responsibility or the value of a vote. 
Everyone had a job and stuck with it until the work was done.  We put in long days of repetitious details.  Those who could phone, called.  Those who could write, signed letters and addressed them until there was no feeling left in their hand.  We folded and stuffed until our fingers were covered with paper cuts.  Those who were old enough to knock on doors, hit the streets until the sun set. 

We became known as the "Wachter machine" by the campaign employees.

Being little had no meaning.  There was still a job for you.  Samuel put stamps on envelopes for two solid days.  When he got ahead of the other workers, he ran to restock our supplies.

Elisabeth worked hard to stay out of trouble missing her naps and staying still and quiet for hours on end.  One day, one of the campaign employees made up a little bed for her, complete with a big, soft, stuffed bear. 
But mostly, she stayed by my side and tried to lend a hand as best she could.  
She liked the daily lollipop Miss Cathy gave her after lunch.
She and Gipper, the Senators dog and mascot to the effort, became good friends.

At the end of each day, I was exhausted, as I know the kids must have been.  On the way home after each day of volunteering, someone would ask if we could go the next day.  I would answer with the long list of all the things we weren't getting done at home. 

One particular night, after several of the kids had spent hours walking from door to door while I was working in the office, I was chatting with them about what they had done.  Who they had done it with.  And who they had spoken to.  Many of the children had already requested to go back to work the next day.  When I got to Aedan, I asked how his day had went.  Reports from those in charge on the outing was that he had been particularly helpful going from door to door.  He cheerfully reported all he had done and who he had talked to.  I asked him if he, too, wanted to go the next day.  With a cheerfulness in his voice, that only Aedan can pull off, he said, "No, thank you." 

I asked him, "Why?"  Did he not like what visiting?  etc... He said he had liked it well enough and there was no reason in particular,  just that he didn't want to go again.  Fair enough. 

That's when it occurred to me, the little guys didn't necessarily know why we were doing what we were doing.  They just went along with it because it was something the big girls wanted to do.  Never wanting to miss an opportunity for teaching, I explained we had given our time because we wanted to support someone who believes in things which are important to us.  I told him how Senator Mooney held many of our same beliefs from the Bible such as the right to life, the right to bear arms, our right to home school and the need to have prayer back in school.  We talked about his belief in the sanctity of marriage and family as God established it.  His commitment to helping those with less advantage.

We talked about the verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 " If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 

When I was finished talking, Aedan asked me if we could go again the next day.  I was so proud of his maturity and the way he thought through things and realized that he was part of something bigger than him; something important.

So today dawned, election day, with the excitement and wonder of Christmas morning.  Each little Wachter excited to know what the count will be.  I can not say enough, how glad I am, we made the effort to be part of the experience.  The kids are already talking about the next election.

To complete the experience, we took all the kids to the polls with us so they could see how the process plays out.
So tonight, as Allen and I continue our northward journey, I can see my little workers gathered around the radio (yes, we don't have TV) awaiting the results.  See the photo they emailed me of the wipe board?  Aren't they an amusing crowd?
I can feel the excitement and the thrill.  No matter the outcome of the race, I am sure, by reaching beyond ourselves and becoming part of a team, we won something great along the way.


2 comments :

  1. Good for you and your family! You should be very proud of them!

    You don't happen to know the Butler's do you? Tol and Linda.

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  2. Yeah, I'll miss the campaign, too.

    Can't wait for the next!

    Love and miss you!
    Nana

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