Long ago and far away, the doorbell rang. I hitched the baby onto my hip and we went to see who was there.
The man on the doorstep certainly looked familiar; I knew I had seen him before, and he was looking at me eagerly like a puppy begging for recognition, but I couldn’t quite place him, in that moment, on my doorstep.
He waited a few more awkward moments before introducing himself as my government representative, a figure recently famous on the national stage. That’s where I’d seen him: on tv.
I didn’t apologise for not recognising him first. I thought, actually, it was quite rude to appear on someone’s doorstep in the middle of the afternoon, out of the blue, and wait for acclamation instead of introducing oneself right away. But I did shake his hand.
“May I count on your vote?” he asked.
Well, no. He could count quite definitely on my voting for somebody else.
“May I ask why?”
If I had to summarise, it would be that I kind of fundamentally disagreed with the entire philosophical, political and ethical foundation of his party’s policies. No offence.
It was a strange exchange to have in a front porch with a baby in one hand and the urge to be polite and kind to the man on my front path guiding me through a outright rejection of all that he stood there for.
He took a breath, thought for a moment, then let it go. There are easier battles to fight on the doorsteps of southern suburban England.
“What a pretty baby?” he ventured, slightly forlornly. A politician’s pat phrase, or a touch of genuine humanity from a man satirized in the late night comedy shows as a Vulcan?
The eager puppy left with his tail between his legs. I was surprised that he took it so hard. I mean, yes, it’s always difficult to hear that someone thinks you are out-and-out wrong in your approach to your life of service; but it’s not as though he was about to lose the election because of me.
Still, my vote, apparently, mattered. My voice made a difference. My baby made an impact. (You should see her now!)
That’s my voting story for today. Later, I’ll have another one, which I may or may not tell. In the meantime, I have to get to the polls to vote for my principles, my values, my hopes for my children.
I encourage you to, too.
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