by Todd Habiger
Yesterday was a big day in our family. My daughter Paige voted for the very first time.
I must admit my heart swelled with pride as I watched her pour over the ballot and make her choices. The polling volunteers indulged my request to take some photos and seemed amused by this dad wanting to document the moment.
Our family loves to talk politics. Most Saturdays we gather at my in-laws for a family meal, and often those meals involve political talk. From an early age, Paige has listened and participated in these discussions.
For as long as I can remember, Paige has wanted to vote. She is a passionate person with strong opinions. She’s never been afraid of stating her opinion and backing it up with facts. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve raised a strong, confident young woman who’s not afraid to share her beliefs.
During the entire presidential season, I’ve never once tried to influence her vote. We, as a family, talk about things and the importance of being an informed voter. But in the end, I trust Paige to make her own decisions.
Even though she didn’t turn 18 until Oct. 21, Paige was allowed to caucus in March. And it was something we did together. We both enjoyed being part of the political process and eagerly anticipated Nov. 8.
After she cast her ballot, I asked her how she felt.
“I feel pretty important,” she said.
And she is. Every vote is important. Everyone who participates has a say in the direction the country takes. I find it sad that more people don’t take part in this great right we’ve been given.
In 2012 only 57.5% of eligible voters actually voted. Imagine the difference the other 42.5% of people could have made had they simply chosen to vote.
In response to my question of why she’s always wanted to vote, Paige simply said, “I care about the future of this country.”
Everyone should care about the future of this country. It is because of young people like my daughter taking an active part in politics that I have hope for the future.