We’re in the thick of midterm elections in the U.S. and experts are warning citizens about the growing rise in political violence as we near election day and voters head to the ballot box. And a wide majority of Americans are concerned about politically motivated violence. Today’s writing prompt will address these concerns. Keep reading to see the full writing prompt and my completed version of it.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Battle At The Ballot Box
Today, write a scene in which a group of characters encounter political violence, or are on the cusp of encountering political violence, as they go to cast their ballots. Write from the first-person point of view. And try to write at least three paragraphs.
Completed Version of Today’s Writing Prompt
A Voting Legacy, by K.E. Creighton
When we pulled into the parking lot at the library to drop off our ballots I saw a row of heavy-duty pickups on the far side of the lot. They were all the same color, dark red. And as soon as we stepped out of our sedan with a Blue Wave sticker on its bumper, a dozen or so men in tactical gear emerged from the trucks and headed toward where our car was parked, toward where we were standing. We hadn’t started walking toward the ballot drop box yet because we still had to help my elderly grandmother out of the car so she could come with us, so the three of us could cast our ballots together. Her knees and back have been failing her for years now and we’re afraid her memory will be next. Although I’m fairly certain she’ll never forget to vote.
My mother and I have always voted together since I was old enough to vote. We debate the issues and candidates on our ballots while filling them out at the kitchen table each election. We hardly ever agree on anything when it comes to politics, but we do agree on the sanctity of the democratic process and always debate our beliefs with equal parts relish and respect. Sometimes we sway the other to our side of an argument, but it is rare, especially nowadays. Still, we take the voting process seriously and we’re grateful. We know we owe our precious democratic tradition to my grandmother and her mother who started our voting traditions once she was legally able to vote.
As we’re helping my grandmother into her wheelchair, she ignores the men approaching us in tactical gear. It’s a marvel that she can defiantly ignore them. Because now they’ve formed a line along our only paved path toward the ballot drop box. And seeing her resoluteness makes me feel ashamed at how intimidated I feel, how small, and how scared. I should be protecting her, not the other way around. And for a moment, I consider not walking up there and not casting my vote, to protect her. But my grandmother looks at me with a confident and warm smile, persuading me to keep moving and making me see that I was getting things backward. To protect her, I need to vote no matter what.
Some of the men have face masks on so I can only see their beady hateful eyes. A few of them have bulges underneath their waistbands. They’re carrying concealed firearms. And a few others are holding up large banners with spiteful slogans and perverse insignias on them.
My mother and I each grab a handle on my grandmother’s wheelchair, lock the car, and start walking. As we walk, the men jeer at us and curse at us and call us names and yell in deep voices and laugh sardonically. One of them has a megaphone and is using it to yell insults at us. One of the harassers even spits on the ground near my feet.
When I try to pause along the path, clearly scared, my mother places her hand on my hand that’s holding the handle of my grandmother’s wheelchair. And we keep walking slowly without saying anything to cast our ballots together, just as we always have.