Today’s post is part of a blogosphere event, Why I Vote. I have to thank Colleen at Chasing Ray for inviting me to participate in this event and causing me to really think about somethings I’ve really taken for granted. This is why I vote. Here is why others vote. Why do you?
Why, indeed do I vote? I suppose I do because my parents did and the question then becomes: why did they vote? Why, indeed!
When my dad decided to fight for this country, he passed for White in order to get a more active role in combat. I guess the joke was on him though, because he ended up working in the morgue. After the years he spent providing final honors to his fallen “brothers” in arm, he came back to his hometown of Toledo, OH and got married. He and my mother soon found a nice little home in which to raise their children. My dad would study the banks to find the best rates and terms. He always kept his finances well organized and from his diligence, he would quickly be accepted for a mortgage loan. But, when he took my brown-skinned mother into the bank to sign papers, the loan would suddenly be denied. I never remember either of my parents missing a day of work. My dad rarely took a vacation, went to church every holy day and Sunday, never did anything in excess yet, it seemed he would never get a house for his family.
My mom grew up in the Mississippi Delta. Life was rough in the Delta, still is. The poverty her family faced was so difficult that my mom barely spoke of it.
My mom and dad knew they wanted their children to have a better life and they made sure we got an education. They gave us everything they believed we needed and sent all three of us children to college.
You would think that people back in the 60s and 70s would be less informed than people today, but those were times when new sources weren’t competing 24 hours for viewers and they were able to deliver real information. My parents always watched the evening news. No matter how much we children complained. they watched the news! They read the Toledo Blade daily, discussed politics at the union hall and always voted. Even with all that they lived through, they couldn’t lose their faith in America.
Like me, my mom and dad never, ever imagined they would see a black president in their lifetime. My dad passed away long before Pres. Barak Obama even came onto the political scene. Dad was a diehard Republican and I have no idea how he would have voted, but mom was a lifelong Democrat. She had moved to Indiana to live with my sister and during the campaign mom was glued to CNN! But, you know what? My mom couldn’t vote for him.
She came from the Delta, that ragged ol’ Delta and in one of the may fires in the churches, courthouses and other public buildings down there, her birth records burned. I remember as a child going with her when she tried to get a birth certificate re-created so that she’d be able to get a social security card, but it couldn’t be done. Consequently, when she moved to Indiana she couldn’t get a driver’s license and without the driver’s license, she couldn’t vote for that black man she never thought she’d see become president in her lifetime. She didn’t live to see him inaugurated, but she lived to see him get elected. For that matter, she lived to see her children do fairly well for themselves.
So, for her, and for my dad, for all they endured so that their children could have a better life, for my children and for the grandchildren I hope to see in my life time, I will vote. America may only be a dream, but I’m part of that dream. My parents let me know that.