I’m not going to talk shop today. I’m going to talk election, just this once.
I have two children who are 15 and 18 years old. I love them dearly. But for this column I’m going to talk about the oldest one, not because I love him more, but because he’s “of age.”
One evening, while I was making supper, Oldest Child wandered into the kitchen. “Whatchamakin?” he poked around, lifting lids. Ah, the kitchen. The heart of a home. “Mac ‘n’ cheese, baked chicken and salad,” I answered. Then I ventured into a topic we had never discussed.
“Are you going to vote on May 2?” I asked, never presuming he would. I try to maintain my kids’ freedom of choice. Sometimes it comes back to haunt me. Other times, I’m pleasantly surprised.
“Absolutely,” he replied. (I’m pleasantly surprised.)
“Do you know who you’re going to vote for?”
“Not really. There isn’t anyone I’m really into,” he said.
‘I’m not going to blow it’
And so we discussed the election, to the best of our knowledge, between grating the cheese and opening the can of tomatoes.
“Not voting isn’t an option,” he began. “I’m lucky to live in the best place in the world.” (Another pleasant surprise.)
He was passionate about voting for the first time. I never knew he felt this way.
“What would life be like if I lived in Libya or Egypt or the Ivory Coast? Would I be able to vote? Would I be able to have the same rights and freedoms I have today if I lived there? No. So I have to vote. I have to exercise my democratic right. Too many people died making sure I could do this. I’m not going to blow it.”
I picked myself up off the floor.
When did aliens come to my house and abduct my self-centred egomaniac of a son?
We talked a little while longer.
Yes. We talked.
He was passionate about voting for the first time. I never knew he felt this way. And he was passionate about voting for a candidate who looked out for the province’s best interests. “I think we’ve had the short end of the stick for way too long,” he said.
“You can’t trust the Conservatives. They’ll tell you what you want to hear and do damn well what they please in the end. They’ve never liked our province. You can’t believe the Liberals. And well, (Jack) Harris just seems to do a lot of talking but what has he accomplished for this province?”
The Great Discussion while grating
I let him ramble and tried not to influence his thinking. We don’t necessarily share the same political views. But I did encourage him to read more and make an informed decision before May 2.
When the Great Discussion was over, supper was in the oven. We had resolved the country’s problems and promised to find out more.
“So you’re going to vote then?” I asked one last time, subtly reinforcing the importance of the day.
“Absolutely!” he stabbed the air with his fist.
“Great!” I said. “So do you wanna come with me and Dad when we go to vote?”
“Sure,” he said.
Then he paused.
Fantastic! I thought. I just knew my newest contributing member of society was struggling to find the right words to bestow a parting gem suitable to place on my headstone.
I held my breath.
“I’m hungry. When’s supper?”
“Fifteen minutes,” I sighed.