Sunday, August 24, 2008


Many times I leave the movie theater a bit disappointed. But yesterday afternoon was a sweet surprise. Swing Vote is everything I want from a movie--good acting, smart writing, entertainment, and heartfelt moments.

The story also makes me think about what many of you are probably thinking about these days--who to vote for. Swing Vote examines that important power and makes you believe one vote truly does count.

I grew up in a family of voters so I never considered not voting. Even when we lived overseas, I remember my parents voting by absentee ballots. Sometimes my parents didn't agree on the candidates. That fascinated me and made the election more interesting. Would Mom win or Dad? One year, neither did. But in a way, I won that year. Their polarized decisions taught me that when I was old enough to vote, the choice belonged to me.

I've never known who my maternal grandfather voted for. He's a quiet man who considers political matters personal. However, I always knew who my paternal grandfather supported because he told everyone, and as a bonus, he'd add in a story to back up his choice. Good or bad, I have to admit my grandfather's stories and my family's humble background influence how I vote today.

Once I heard my uncle Tucom say, "I don't like either candidate, but I got to have my griping rights."

This year, my daughter will vote for the president for the first time. She is taking this privilege so seriously, trying to be fair as she makes her decision. The election is causing her to examine who she is. And maybe that's why it's such a difficult decision for most of us. In some huge way, our choice represents who we are. But, of course, no candidate can completely do that. So we step up to the ballot and cast our votes, knowing we are surrendering on some issues in order to give strength to others. At the very least, we walk away having earned our griping rights.

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