This is my first of a different kind of post, my first “Real Talk.” In these posts, I’ll delve a little deeper into ~issues~ and hopefully add a little something to the proverbial conversation. I’m not a confrontational person, but I do care passionately about the things I stand for. I will strive to keep these posts from getting too preachy or one-sided, but I am a woman with opinions and they’ll be reflected in these posts, at least to some extent. Happy Election Day!
I almost feel funny writing a post like this. I didn’t register to vote until October 2015. I was 27 and honestly still get upset when I acknowledge that I didn’t get to help elect Obama.
My not registering right when I turned 18 was a sore subject for many of my friendships back then. I wasn’t a typical college student (lots of family issues meant I had to focus more on keeping my parents’ house afloat rather than partying), so most of my friends were adult adults who liked to talk politics. Note that I was 18 in 2006. The internet was absolutely a thing back then (I’m not that old), but I didn’t use it the way I do today. I didn’t educate myself, so I had no opinions of my own.
I regret that ignorance so much.
It wasn’t until I had a Conversation (capital ‘c’ so you know it was important) with my husband that I realized why I needed to register.
While my reasons for feeling the way I do about political issues are something quite personal, politics themselves are anything but. I’ve talked to so many people about how massively global this election season has been. The internet has connected the world in a way that we couldn’t begin to comprehend in previous elections. That’s not going to slow down.
Thinking globally is sometimes too big – it didn’t really click for me until I started paying attention to the people right around me. So many of my friends only recently attained the rights that I’ve had my entire life. I keep thinking about them, more than my own personal rights, when I think about what this election means.
That’s the important part of voting that eluded me for years.
Voting isn’t about yourself. It’s about the people around you who could be impacted by this election more than you could ever fathom.
That’s why I can’t stop thinking about my friends who could be told they can’t marry who they love. I can’t stop thinking about my friends whose parents are immigrants. I can’t stop thinking about my friends who don’t feel safe because their skin is darker than mine.
I realize I’m writing from a place of privilege because I am straight and white. While I can feel all I want for my friends who aren’t, I’ll never experience what they have and all I can do is support them the best I can. That being said? I need to vote to help them. We all do.
This election isn’t about if the candidates are likable. That’s not how it works – no one is universally appealing. This election is about looking beyond email servers and brash comments, and looking more at the culture of America each candidate would foster.
That’s why when I hear people complaining they hate both choices, and can’t bring themselves to vote for either, or plan on writing in someone else, I feel sick. If you would have told 18-year-old me I would someday feel so passionately about politics, I would have laughed in your face.
What’t not a laughing matter, however, is how important it is to vote in this election, with the well-being of your friends and family in mind.
Get out and vote today, guys. Don’t screw this up.