Over the last few weeks I’ve asked parents around the country a few questions about the upcoming Presidential election. Why do you vote? Why will you be voting on Nov. 6? Why does voting matter? What do you think about the campaign and the candidates? I invited parents to answer those questions in the form of letters to their kids.
Here’s what 10 parents – addressing kids little and big with views patriotic, poignant and political – had to say:
The day we lost you in a car accident, you were months away from your first chance to vote. In your name, I started the Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA (Family And Medical Leave Act) to give time off for people who suffer the same pain your family feels today, and in your name, we are helping others. I am supporting Barack Obama for his commitment to healthcare and also our local Republican Congressman who has vowed to get a bill introduced so your legacy will live on. Your time here has made me a better person. The Talmud says: “He who saves one life is as if he has saved the entire world.”
I love you.
Barry Kluger, father of Erica, lives in Scottsdale with his wife Hope Kirsch, Erica’s stepmom. They have devoted themselves to pro-social efforts, with Barry serving as President and CEO of The MISS Foundation, a global grief and loss organization (www.missfoundation.org); and Hope, an attorney, serving the special needs and education community. They think of Erica every day and have committed their careers to making sure her memory lives on.
Dear Gillian and Catie,Voting is many things. Sometimes it’s a chore, sometimes a privilege, sometimes a chance to let off some steam. I have felt all of these things at various times in my life. I remember casting my first ballot at 18 as a sophomore in college. I was sad it had to be cast by mail instead of at the local polling place. I’d accompanied my mother to cast her vote many times over the years, and couldn’t wait until it was my turn. I wanted to wait on line (yes, I’m a New Yorker), step inside the curtain, flip the little switches to make my choices, and then pull the lever that made them permanent. (Those old voting machines were so satisfying to use – resounding clicks when you made each choice, and then such a great big “chunk” they made when you pulled the master lever. That was voting!) So that first ballot was undramatic, just a checkbox on a form and a stamp. But from that point forward I felt a part of the national conversation – a member of “the people,” a person whose opinion counted. I haven’t missed an election since, because to do so would be to give up my voice. This is what it means to be a citizen. Well, voting and paying taxes. I do both proudly and gratefully, and take my place as a citizen of these United States. Love,
Alexandra Owens lives in Morris County, New Jersey, with her husband, Michael, and their two daughters, Gillian, 13, and Catie, 10. Alexandra is the executive director of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA; www.asja.org).
Dear Laura, Jennifer and Kim,
I realize that I will never be able to understand all the issues of a presidential race, nor would I have the time to learn about healthcare, taxes, employment or unemployment, inflation, diplomacy, immigration, the national debt, to name some. Yet, people I know argue these points based upon headlines. I think that most people, unless party loyalists, vote for the person they’d want as a next-door neighbor. For me, that’s Obama.
Frank Cavallaro, who lives in East Meadow, Long Island, is father to three daughters, Laura, Jennifer and Kim , and two grandchildren, Olivia, 8, and Luke, 6. He worked at several advertising agencies but eventually entered the financial services business. After retirement, he started a business of making and fixing things for homeowners.
P.S. – Please see part 3 tomorrow.