The absolute importance and honor of voting in this country have never been lost on me. I was raised by two very passionate people who disagreed on almost everything while they were together. Except for politics.

The first time I became keenly aware of this was the day President Kennedy was assassinated. My mother and father watched in abject horror and sorrow as the details of the end of all that might have been, played out on the tv screen. Back then, commentators commonly referred to that moment in time as "the end of Camelot".

At age 43, Kennedy was very close to my parent's age when he was elected. He was Catholic (as they were), he was descended from Irish immigrants, as my Mom was also. My dad, who was born in New York City, went back to Italy as a small child to be raised, and then re-immigrated through Ellis Island, also found much to like about the young, ambitious president.

Kennedy was the exact opposite of xenophobic, creating the Peace Corps to try and make a positive difference in foreign countries. He wanted to raise the minimum wage, cut taxes, improve education, as well as healthcare and mass transit. He wanted people to take an active interest in the U.S. "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

Very little of his domestic agenda came to fruition, but for my parents, that didn't negate the intentions or the hope for a better way forward in this country.

My parents informed me, long before the subject was ever broached in school, that people were not allowed to vote in many places in the world. That in the United States, at certain times in history, voting was a privilege for men only, and for whites only. Even as a small child that smacked of unfairness to me.

The tumultuous times we're living in only serve to remind me again and again, how vitally important it is to vote. I'm glad that other people also seem to be so inspired.


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