For Noah

It’s just after 9 o’clock in the morning, and Noah is down for his first nap of the day. The past couple of hours I’ve spent with him feeding him his breakfast of squashed up mango and banana, changing his diaper, rolling around on the living room floor with him, and holding him in my lap while we read kids books he doesn’t yet understand but likes to grab at the cardboard pages.

Yesterday, November 6, Anna and I took Noah with us to vote. Four years ago when the two of us voted in our first presidential election as a married couple, our little boy was just a thought — a dream of one day when we would eventually have kids. And in 4 years time, at the next election, Noah will no doubt be an older brother with a sibling or two.

Voting is an immeasurable privilege and honor. More than 115 million of us stood in lines all across America yesterday. Some came prepared with their cheat sheets, ready to pencil in every office, judge, amendment, and proposition exactly as they wanted. Some have been voting for decades, across a dozen presidencies and a few wars. Others cut their ballot-casting teeth for the first time yesterday.

Standing in line at the church down the road, the halls were crowded with all manner of folks. Our shared or differing political views aside, there was, as always, an unspoken sense of unity in that line. And that unity stretched through walls and precincts and states to the thousands of lines all around our nation. Most of us were more than willing to giving hours of our day to stand amongst strangers and exercise one of our greatest rights as free Americans.

Thinking about those who were in line with Anna and me, and all the other 115 million Americans who voted yesterday, I think it’s fair to say there is a common denominator amongst us all: we want what is best for our families.

As I sat down with my ballot and pencil in that crowded church room I had a single purpose: I was voting for my family. I voted with my son in mind, and our future children, because they will inherit the country we build for them.

But that country our children will live in is not built in whole through the aggregate of millions of ballots. Nor is their inheritance the responsibility of Washington.

I voted for the men and women who I felt most aligned with the values of my own life. Who I endorse in the privacy of my voting booth is just as important as the actions I endorse in the privacy of my own home.

I deeply want this great country to be led by men and women of character and conviction. Officials who will do what’s right and leave the fabric of these United States stronger than when they started their term. But it is not mostly up to them; it is mostly up to us.

It was, as always, an honor to have voted yesterday. But my civic duty is far from over. I want what is best for my son and what is best for this country. And, as you know, that goes beyond showing up to vote. I believe it starts with making my home a place where children grow up to be wise and strong and free.

For Noah