We weren't a hugely political family when I was growing up. My parents voted, but we didn't really discuss political issues around the dinner table. That time was usually reserved for the latest stories about Charissa doing something reckless/ sharing too much information about her bodily functions, or Little Luke regaling us with tales of his next performance as Goldilocks, or Jessie and me being chastised for eating like birds, or the cat hacking something up in the corner of the dining room...you get the idea.
Then I met Luke and shortly thereafter, his family. If my in-laws were a zoo exhibit, they'd have to put them in the political animal section. They are politics crazy!
Luke's uncle ran for election in Toronto when Luke was a kid. So by the time he was 11, Luke had campaigned door to door, delivered flyers, followed up with potential voters and watched the counting of ballots in an official capacity (ok, he was with his dad, but still). The mud room in their farmhouse still had the lawn sign from the campaign a decade later. Needless to say, I was plunged into the world of politics right along with them. I loved it all. I loved talking about the issues. I loved debating our stances. I loved the rallies. But most of all, I loved the election party. That's right, every election night Luke's mom would crack out the hors d'ouvres, the sparkly drinks and the pajamas. We'd sit around eating and cheering and gasping as the results rolled in. I don't remember the outcome of any of the elections we shared, but I do remember loving the parties, the time we spent together, the hope for a better future.
Tonight, Luke's family is all half way across the world. They'll be home for good in a few short weeks, but for now we're continuing the tradition on our own. Judah accompanied us for his first federal election vote. He sat on my hip as I marked my X. The snacks are ready and taste tested by an unnamed toddler. In one hour Luke and I will curl up on the couch and see what political future our fellow citizens have chosen with us.
Judah is now upstairs having his election-night bedtime story read to him. I only hope it has a happy ending.
"Freedom is when the people can speak, democracy is when the government listens."