A few weeks ago I heard an acquaintance say he feels like elections are rigged, and therefore won’t vote. This didn’t sit well with me for several reasons. One, I was dismayed to hear this from a black man, seeing as we elected a black man to be president, a major feat in this country. And I don’t think anyone rigged the election in Barack Obama’s favor. Secondly, I’m just not a fan of cynicism. We don’t live in a perfect world where everything is always fair, however, I feel it’s still important to participate in the process. For me, my vote is my voice.
After the unfortunate comments from my acquaintance, I checked to make sure I was still registered to vote. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance! I was excited to see my information was up to date, and absolutely giddy when I got my voting information card in the mail. Regardless of the outcome of the election, I knew that I would do my part.
As a woman of color, I value that people have given their lives to fight for marginalized members of our society to have the right to vote. But beyond gender and race, I believe that voting is a human right and a responsibility. We have a responsibility to participate in the process that decides who will govern our country; a gift not every country has. In fact, people around the world are fighting and dying every day for the right to vote. Just this summer the people of Sudan rose up and rioted against dictatorship. They believe having a voice in their government means something, and so do I.
Also, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
I’ve heard varied arguments on why people don’t want to vote. Some abstain because they don’t like either candidate. Others believe their vote truly doesn’t matter. I believe the future of our country warrants participation. Dismissing the process diminishes your power. Also, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
By voting it gives me to right to be a part of the national conversation about what I like, and what I feel needs to change in our country. We cannot control the outcome, but what we can control is our intention. And my intention is to use my power how I can. I have no authority over the outcome of Election Day, but I know my vote mattered.
My candidate won last night, but even if the decision had gone the other way, I would still be proud I went to the polls and used my voice. I could rest easy knowing I fought for my beliefs, and exercised my rights!
Now that the election is over, I’m hopeful that Americans will support our nations’ decision, and we can all move forward together. If you’re not happy about last night’s results, there’s always 2016.
Just make sure you vote!
Do you think voting is important? Why?