The first president I can remember is Ronald Reagan. But he wasn’t president when I was born. Jimmy Carter was. I’m saddened today to think that the first president my daughter will remember is Donald Trump. But I’m glad that I’ll be able to remind her that the president when she was born was Barack Obama.
The classicist in me can’t help but look back. We compare ourselves to Rome and Greece. We are not an Athenian democracy. Our government is much closer to that of the Roman Republic. People tend to focus on the fall of the Roman Empire, but we should think about how the Roman Republic fell. Augustus Caesar did not call himself “emperor”. He was the First Citizen. The Roman Republic didn’t fall in glory. It was chipped away at until the Senate did not have enough power to override the decisions of the First Citizen. Why was Julius Caesar murdered by members of the Senate? To protect their power.
Do not read that wrong. We are better than Ancient Rome. We can use the lessons of their history. We can encourage our legislative branch to act as the check on the executive branch our founders designed them to be.
Yes, today I weep. Today I mourn for the world my daughter is growing up in. Today I am sad that half of my country voted to return to a glorious past that didn’t exist for the other half of my country.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow I will stand up and continue to do what I can to make at least my corner of the world a better place.
You may have heard that there’s an election tomorrow. Unless you’ve been living… I don’t know where. I suspect that even people in caves or under rocks are aware that there’s an election tomorrow. And I say this every time there’s an election. Go. Vote. I don’t care who you’re voting for. Just do it. Exercise your right to vote.
But that’s not completely true.
I do care who you’re voting for. Of course I do. I want the candidates I’m voting for to win. (And you can probably guess which candidates those are.)
I’m not saying I want you to tell me. Unless you really want to tell me. We have a secret ballot. Who you choose to vote for isn’t my business. But of course I care. I have strong opinions about the purpose of government. In general, one candidate represents my opinions and the other doesn’t. So I don’t really want you to vote for the other one.
But even if you’re going to vote for someone else. Even if I don’t agree with your politics, I still think you should vote.
Even if you don’t want to vote for either of them, I still think you should show up to the polls. You can leave that part of your ballot blank. There’s a lot more going on this election that what’s at the top of the ballot.
There’s still time. This election, I highly recommend Google for finding out about the people on your ballot. I picked up the League of Women Voters non-partisan guide at the library, but I still had to Google in order to find info about the local library board and school board candidates.
The election is tomorrow. I hope all of you who are eligible go and vote. I’ll be at the polls* once I drop Anna off at school.
*Wearing white. In case you haven’t figured out my politics by now.