Disclaimer: I am not going to be trying to convince you of one candidate or another. I have my beliefs and you have yours. It ends there. I'll begin with a story.
In October of 2004, I was in 8th grade. It was the year of the United States Presidential Election, but it was also the year Afghanistan held their very first election. I was in my Social Studies class and my teacher was explaining how historic this election was for Afghanistan. She explained to us how there were very few voting booths in the country and that citizens had to travel for hours across the country to get to their nearest voting booth. Then she said something that has stuck with me to this very day.
"None of your parents would travel that far to vote."
Even at 14, I was taken aback by that statement. My parents would! My parent would definitely travel that far to vote. I knew my parents would go as far as they needed to have their vote count. I confirmed my theory when I got home that afternoon. I told my mother what my teacher said and her response was exactly what I expected: She would travel a hundred miles to vote.
This memory sticks out to me because it was the very first time I realized that many people in this country don't value voting. I consider myself lucky to have been raised in a home that valued not only voting, but politics and government. My parents constantly had the news on (much to my annoyance growing up), they would listen to both sides of the aisle (even if they didn't agree), and they believed in America, (even if they didn't like the president). My parents have strong values that they graciously passed down to my brother and I. When we believe in something we fight for it. When we have the opportunity to make a difference, we take it. Voting always makes a difference.
I turned 18 six weeks before the 2008 election. I was a senior in high school. My mom called me out of my first period class to take me to the polling station to cast my vote. I entered the little booth and stared at the computer screen. Up first, the presidential election. I looked at the names staring back at me: Barack Obama and John McCain. It blew my mind the value of what I was going to do. I was about to make a choice that would effect the future of this country and the history that would one day be told. But most of all, my opinion mattered. I was able to take what I believed in and do something with it. My voice was being heard. It mattered; I mattered.
The act of voting means you believe in something. What that something is depends on the person. Some people believe in only one candidate. Some people believe in one party and will always vote for them regardless of the candidate. Some people believe in certain topics like health care, social issues, immigration or economics and will cast their vote based on that. Our beliefs are powerful. They motivate us to act, to speak, and in this season, to vote. But if we don't stand for what we believe in, we could fall for anything.
So I ask you, what do you believe in?
It is so easy to say, "I'm one person, my vote doesn't matter", but it does! How often in life do we get the opportunity to choose our superiors? We can't pick our teachers, our bosses, but we can choose the president of our country! We can choose who represents us in our congress, in our states, in our county and city. How wonderful is that?! It is also so easy to say, "I don't like either candidate, so I'm just not going to vote." The problem with that thought is, somebody is going to win this election. Whether you like it or not, one of them WILL win. So you might as well vote for the one you believe in.
Below I have some links to helpful you get started.
Not registered? Do so here!
Feeling lazy? Vote absentee!
Don't know who to vote for? This is a good place to start!
Still don't see the point? Well, I've done my best to convince you otherwise.
So I encourage you to take the brief amount of time to vote. It's just a few minutes every four years, but it will literally make a world of a difference.
As always, thank you for reading, XO-