Tuesday, November 06, 2012

In Trouble at the Polls

The cutest little "blue dots you ever did see.
We've been trying to involve our kids in the voting process as much as possible and in ways they can comprehend. Going to vote with me was a no-brainer. I think it sets good habits for their future and shows them that we care enough to try and make our voice heard.

So this morning, we got up, got ready and headed out. It's super convenient for us that I vote at the Munchkins school (you know I love to multi-task.) My girls were excited to wear their Obama buttons and I had on my Obama shirt.

Quite honestly I was a little nervous about the reaction I might receive from some of the people in my own community. Especially when getting to the school means walking down Romney/Ryan Row. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, who gives a shit? I'm proud of who I'm voting for and I clearly don't have a problem talking about it behind this keyboard.

We got to the polls and the Munchkin was excited. Asking lots of questions and desperately hoping we got to go behind a "curtain." (I'm guessing she envisioned a very Wizard of Oz type scenario.)  She saw friends and waved, I saw Moms and said Hi. The Mom of the Munchkins best friend said she loved my shirt, I sighed in relief, thinking maybe we can be better friends..

As we approached the table to sign in, the lady looking at licenses looked at "Ashley" and asked if she was there to help Mommy vote. "Ashley" beamed and proudly pulled her jacket aside and showed the lady her Obama button, to which the lady replied: "You're not allowed to have that on, you need to cover it up...."

I was stunned. Literally speechless, as I stood there in my OBAMA SHIRT with nothing being said to me.


At that point I watched my 4 year olds little face deflate, feeling like she got caught doing something wrong.

When I replied to the lady "Seriously?"

She looked and me and said:" It's not her fault, she didn't know.. "


I told the lady that apparently neither did I as I walked off with my ballot.  It was then when I realized that the 7 year old had ducked behind me and took her button off too, afraid that she was going to get in trouble.

After we voted I took the girls outside and explained to them that they did nothing wrong and should never be embarrassed about who they're voting for or what they believe in. But it's too late. That will be my oldest daughters first memory of voting. Getting in trouble for supporting our candidate.

As the morning goes on, I can't help but think of about 100 other things I would have liked to have said to that lady.  I can't help but wonder if the button had been Romney/Ryan, would she have said anything at all?

My daughter is 4. Obviously not a Candidate. She wasn't walking around showing people her button. In fact it WAS covered up until the lady spoke to her.

Why not call me out on my shirt?

I've been googling trying to figure out the "rules" to voting day "paraphernalia," but it's sketchy and not real clear. Even if it's not ok.. What about my right to freedom of speech? Shouldn't that apply here, especially on election day?

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