Exactly one year ago I published a post about my 10th grade history teacher, James Carden. He was one of those inspiring zealots who leave lasting impressions on the people they encounter.
I voted today. I might have voted even if I hadn't known James Carden, but it would have happened with more detachment, I'm sure. James Carden taught me, a very non-political person, to care, and to act accordingly. And if the truth be known, during a frighteningly apathetic time of my life, I didn't bother to vote, and didn't give a rat's ass about it, either. Then I remembered James Carden.
He was intense, by golly. He didn't speak; he bellowed. If it wasn't important, then he didn't bother to say it. His words were punctuated by fists pounding and face reddening. His body paid the price- his heart condition required him to pop glycerin pills upon each outburst.
I don't favorably recall many events from my school years, but I do fondly remember our political debates in James Carden's class. That's how he taught us to care, even though it was very uncool for teenagers to do so. In the safety of his classroom, away from our peers who wouldn't get it, he ignited our fires, built to burn for a lifetime.
I voted today, and I cared about and had researched each of my choices. I thought of James Carden as I was handed my "I voted today" sticker. James Carden's fire has surely been snuffed out by now, but the many others he lit burn steadily.