Once every four years, a very big day happens for the American people: the chance to vote for our next President (and various other offices and statewide propositions). The photo to the left is of my official Ballot Card and the uber attractive sticker they give you once you’re done voting.
It’s prudent to share that once I was old enough to vote, I was very much that apathetic person who a) didn’t think my vote counted for anything, and b) didn’t want to get jury duty. So for many years, I wasn’t even registered to vote. I just figured once I cast that vote, it went into the hands of a bunch of rich, old white guys (which to an extent, it does) and my vote likely was never even seen.
It really wasn’t until the last election four years ago that that started to change for me. Many who know me know that one my hot button issues is gay rights…and just civil human rights in general. So in 2008, a Proposition was put on the ballot in California to legalize gay marriage. My belief in and my fervor for the issue is what finally got me to register and got me out to the polls. Not to mention it was a historical election as the possibility of our first black President loomed. It was exciting to say the least, and I remember sitting in my living room in the very house I still live in, and hearing that the person I’d voted for was becoming President. Sadly, the Proposition didn’t pass and the right for anyone to marry is still a fight here in California. But for the first time, I really felt a part of something…I felt a part of my country.
Last night was the second Presidential election I voted in and that feeling increased ten fold. Even though there was no Proposition I felt particularly passionate about on the ballot this time around, I did feel passionate about having my voice heard again; about casting my ballot for the person I saw as the most fit to lead our country. I walked out of that tiny theater at the local high school and was overcome with emotion as I got passed the “I Voted” sticker you see here. Even after the long line, the rather annoying people with me in line, and having to go up some stairs with no railing, I felt a part of something so much bigger than myself. I felt bonded with all those people I’d waited in line with (annoying or otherwise). I felt bonded with my country. And when it was announced that who I’d voted for was the winner, and when he walked out on stage to make his acceptance speech, I got extra choked up. I felt so proud and so fortunate to be able to live somewhere where my voice can be heard and I don’t risk persecution or even death. As a woman and as a human being, I can’t express how thankful I am for that.
Even if you cast your vote for someone who didn’t win, you still had the opportunity to voice your opinion in a big way. You still had the freedom, no matter what gender, race, sexuality or religion you are to cast your vote. You don’t have to agree with my choice for President or my stance on certain issues, and I’m not writing this to make a political issue statement. I’m writing this to emphasize what a privilege it is to be able to vote…period. To stand up for what you think is right, what you think our country needs.
Call me naive or call me idealistic…I know things may not be in the best shape in our country right now but Republican or Democrat, I look forward to the next 4 years and to truly being a United States of America. After all, isn’t that what makes our country great? Here’s to rocking the vote and making our voices heard!
Editor’s Note: I also got jury duty this week and I fully plan on serving it 🙂