Miles asked for me as soon as he woke up this morning, wanting to “trick daddy” (as is so very often the case). He was saddened to find that I wasn’t at home, because I was currently standing outside of one of Charlotte’s voting precincts.
I’ve been pretty politically inclined since the mid-00s, but I there is no doubt that I’ve found myself driven away from passivity in recent years. Where I was once content to make a donation or two and vote in every election (primary, local, etc), the landscape has shifted so emphatically in the past four years that I couldn’t bring myself to remain a bystander. This year, in addition to serving as a poll watcher on Election Day, I volunteered for phone banks and text banks and donated more money than I ever have before (by a considerable margin) to national and state (some mine, some others) campaigns. A big part of this stems from what I see as the biggest hurdles facing society as a whole and wanting more than anything to do my part to serve that greater good. Americans can’t afford to be complacent about politics anymore.
But another, inescapable thing that has lit the spark for service in me is absolutely fatherhood. While my political motivations have always, of course, centered on trying to make this country a better place, this is the first election I’ve voted in where I have a specific person to make it better for. As I, like so many parents, have looked at this country over the last several years, I’ve seen it slide further and further away from a nation I want my child to grow up in. Miles is going to become increasingly aware of both himself and the world beyond his bedroom in the next four years. As much as I’m able, I want to let him see that world free of shame or a need to conceal truths from him, with leaders he can look at and find people worth emulating.
My vote this year was never in question, but my resolve stems from a new wellspring inside of me — DO IT FOR MILES.