Is it the Right or the Responsibility to Vote?

By Zerline Hughes

We had “the talk” this week.

“Do you have to vote?” asked my daughter, 9.5 years old. I said, “Officially, no.” It’s a right, I told her. Just like the right to bear arms. Of course then, I had to explain what bearing arms meant. And then I had to test myself and talk about the Bill of Rights that I remember learning in 5th grade around the time Jesse Jackson was running against Mike Dukakis. We went all over the place but found our way back to the point.images

I told her just because it’s a right to bear arms, doesn’t mean our family has to own guns. And so we don’t exercise that right. In the same vein, people can freely choose not to vote, I said.

I made sure to add, however, “people like us have a responsibility to vote.”

I talked about Martin Luther King. The suffrage movement. And the simple point that if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about your services, treatment,  or anything!

I think our short car talk made sense to her. She said, “I get it, I get it.”

So now, I need to get to my polling site and exercise my responsibility to vote … despite all the craziness within politics. I won’t even go there. I’m so not a politico. But whatever and whomever I decide to vote for, I hope the outcome positively benefits these two.


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