November 8, 2016

On the Importance of Voting

We just got back from our polling place, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it went. It took less than 10 minutes to vote - start to finish. I might actually have a productive morning! (Edited to add: I did NOT have a productive morning.)

Choosing a candidate this year wasn't hard for me. I know a lot of people who have been burdened by this decision, and even this morning were still trying to determine how they would cast their vote. I wasn't one of those people. 

I've known how I would vote since the candidates for both major parties were officially nominated. There's been a general sentiment in my social circles of "choosing between the lesser of two evils" but that was never the case for me. I knew who I thought was best suited for the job and ran the best campaign (or as I like to refer to it: job interview) and I was a tiny bit excited to fill out my ballot. This candidate and I definitely don't see eye to eye on every issue, but I didn't lose a minute of sleep over my decision.

On the way home, despite my enthusiasm about voting (and greater enthusiasm over the end of the rhetoric surrounding this election cycle), I was filled with this sense that the act of voting really didn't make a difference. I said to Kyle, "If we hadn't just done that, the outcome of today's election wouldn't be any different than it will be." And you guys . . . I am right. The election won't come down to a single vote. And he responded exactly as you would expect: "But what if millions of people felt that way?"

Of course I know that, but I've been thinking a lot more about it since then. Why is it important to vote?

Here's what I've decided: It's important for me to vote because we're all in this together, and if I'm not voting, I'm not holding up my end of the bargain. When I filled in the bubble on the ballot (with a wiggly two-year-old in my arms), I'm telling my fellow Americans that if you show up to have your say then I will, too. Our individual votes are worthless. Our combined votes will steer a nation.

My vote this morning was because I feel that one particular person is best suited for the presidency, but it was also for you. I voted because you're going to vote too, and I don't want it to go to waste. I think voting is the ultimate act of solidarity, even if we're voting for different candidates. If we don't all do it, we're dropping the ball. We're letting each other down.  It's somewhat paradoxical, but the truth is that our individual voices can't be heard unless we're all speaking out.

There are dozens of other reasons to vote, and I'm certainly not saying that this is the only reason. But for me, not letting you all down is the most important.


Jaxon Oakley said...

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