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Be The Change

We are on the cusp of an historic election that will absolutely determine the course of our country for many years to come.

This one is unlike any I have seen in my nearly 50 years, and regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, my guess is that you have some anxiety and stress about tonight’s outcome (which we are not likely to know definitively know for a while).

So while we wait, this is a great opportunity to practice some heartful, savvy parenting by teaching your children the importance of voting, and maybe consider sharing some of these fun and important facts with them:

  1. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the right of women (white women) to vote.  The 19th Amendment became part of the US Constitution on August 18, 1920.  The Amendment was ratified by only 36 states, with Washington (where I am based) being the 35th.  By comparison, men (white men over age 21) have had the right to vote since the ratification of the Constitution in 1787.  That’s a 133 year difference between the two, though since 1984, women have voted at slightly higher rates than men.  The first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull, did so in 1872 before she even had the right to vote; needless to say that candidacy did not succeed.

  2. Black men were granted the right to vote with the passing of the 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870.  And although some black women managed to vote after the 19th Amendment was ratified, there were (and continue to be) numerous barriers to their voting; indeed, black voting rights would not be incorporated into the country’s law until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  However, key portions of this Act were invalidated by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013 and voting, the right to vote, and ensuring every vote counts continues to be a battle that rages on today.

  3. For more than a hundred years, the Republican party has been associated with the elephant and the Democratic party with the donkey.  Those symbols were created as a part of a political cartoon in Harper’s Weekly magazine by cartoonist Thomas Nash in 1874.  He was bashing both parties in the cartoon, but the imagery stuck.

  4. Concerned about mail-in ballots?  How about space ballots!?  That’s right, astronauts can fill out their ballots in space and PDFs of their ballots are then beamed down to Earth where the encoded documents are opened and a hard copy is submitted on behalf of the astronaut. What an ingenious way to make sure every vote counts!

  5. Some countries (like Australia, Belgium, and Costa Rica) make voting mandatory, consistently resulting in 90+% participation.  By comparison, the US trails most developed nations in voter participation. There are strongholds where voting is seen as important, however—and Washington State is one of them. Washington uses an entirely mail-in ballot system (and has for years) and the Secretary of State predicts that the state will approach 90% participation among registered voters this year. When we don’t vote, we give up our voice. Think your vote might not matter?  Over the past two decades, more than a dozen races were decided by a single vote!

So, if you have already voted this year THANK YOU!  We may have different ideas about what a healthy future looks like for our children, but when we don’t step up and vote, we have no meaningful say in that one way or the other.

And if you have yet to vote, please do it today!  Your children are watching. It’s not even too late to register in some states if you haven’t done that yet! If you are in Washington, you can fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail; so long as it is postmarked by TODAY, it will be counted.  Better yet, and to ensure that its part of the final results, consider hand-delivering your ballot or dropping it in an official drop box where available.

Outside of Washington, you will need to look up the individual voting rules in your state.

Need a little extra inspiration?  Check out this absolutely beautiful new piece by female powerhouses Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile. It may be just the heartful thing we need on a stressful day.

May you be the change you wish to see in the world.  Peace.

Christy Keating fun headshot

Christy Keating is a certified parent coach,  positive discipline educator, and motivational speaker. She is the founder and CEO of The Heartful Parent Collective, which includes Heartful Parent Coaching, Savvy Parents Safe Kids, and Heartful Parent Academy.

The mother of two amazing daughters, Christy strives to build a happier, healthier world - one child, one parent, and one family at a time.

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