On Wednesday, the 13th, Donald Trump will be in Pensacola, Florida… and yes, I’m going. Not only am I going, but I am taking my 15-year-old son, much to his chagrin.
I will not vote for Donald Trump in the Florida Primary. I have listened to interviews and the debates and he’s an interesting man. There are many things I like about him. I like that he hasn’t allowed the media to control the narrative when it comes to him. I like that he calls out Hillary Clinton for the hypocrite she is. I like that he isn’t politically correct; he speaks plainly, even if it takes him a full circle to come back around to his point.
I don’t like that he has not yet talked about the boundaries of the Executive Branch as stipulated in Article II of the Constitution. I don’t like that he’s egocentric. I don’t like that he’s bombastic. Sometimes being grandiloquent works, but as President, do I really want that characteristic in the man who occupies the White House? Not so much.
But the important part of all this is that I think this is such a wonderful opportunity to hear an entire speech by him, without commentary, from the talking heads on “news” channels. I also want my son to hear what he has to say and take part in this Republic process.
When I printed the tickets, my son expressed his dismay in the most vocal manner.
“Why do I have to go? I don’t care about government? I won’t hear most of what he says. Why do I have to go? I don’t want to go!!”
I let him have his moments of vocal despair and then quietly began to speak.
“You are 15 now, will be 16 in March,” I began. “When you turn 18, whoever is elected now will be president and that means they will be the Commander in Chief. When you are 18, you have to sign up for the Selective Service. That means if there is ever a war and the U.S. military has run out of bodies, they begin the draft. That is when you are told you must serve. You must go to whatever foreign shore the President has decided needs “democracy.”
But more than that, government, from the federal to the state to local, affects every aspect of your life. The roads you drive on, the drivers license you hold, the taxes we pay for those roads… The schools and the taxes we pay for those… The sales tax you pay: when you have $10 and the shirt is $9.99, you know you don’t have enough because of that sales tax. The water you drink is clean because of laws that state it must be clean. All of it: you do “government” even if you don’t like government.
And the right to vote… (this is where I began to choke up) the right to vote, that was won by men you will never know. Men, who signed their names on a piece of paper that declared independence because there was no representation. Remember, the colonists were British subjects. When Britain needed money after a war, the King and Parliament looked across the great expanse called the Atlantic Ocean and decided to tax the colonists. The British government dissolved several of the colonial governments, imposed taxes and other rules. The colonist, fed up with no representation, committed an act of treason by declaring their independence. The men who penned their names knew what they were doing. Many of them lost their homes, their families and were imprisoned; they lost everything. They did that so we could have a Representative Republic. A government where we, the people, elect who will make those decisions on our behalf.
And other men… your great-uncle, buried in a foreign land after dying fighting because he cherished those rights. A man you will never know.
And for me as a woman… It took decades of perseverance and many of the women who started the Suffrage Movement were dead when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, 96 years ago. Women not only had to fight for this basic right, they had to go up against a president who didn’t want them to have the right to vote. They were imprisoned for merely walking on a street, protesting.
So I take this process seriously and so too, should you. Because it’s important. It’s vital that we, as Americans, take part in this process. And Donald Trump is a candidate unlike any other. He’s bombastic. He’s caustic. He’s defying the establishment. He’s funding his own campaign. He’s holding a free event that allows people like you and me to go and hear him speak. You may only hear a small part of what he says, but it’s important to hear him. And then decide for yourself what you think. Because when you turn 18 you will be able to vote and it is important to listen, learn and decide who will best make decisions on your behalf.”
Sitting, looking at me, he was quiet for a moment. Finally he said, “Okay.” And that was that.
So yes, On Wednesday, we will be going…