It’s not illegal anymore, so vote!
I voted for my first time in the 2008 presidential election. Whom I voted for isn’t important, but why I voted, well, to find the answer to that we’ll have to travel back more than a century, to 1870 and the 15th amending of the Constitution.
If you don’t already know, the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed voting rights to all men 21 and older. It would be another 50 years before women were given the right to vote with the installment of the Nineteenth Amendment. So it took approximately 133 years from the passage of the U.S. constitution to 1920 to ensure voting rights to all.
And even though the right to vote was guaranteed, many minority groups still had to fight to exercise this right to vote. Many communities, most of them predominately black were faced with poll taxes, the grandfather clause, literacy tests, and intimidation when they went to vote. More amendments were passed along with various acts.
Now I could sit here all day and bullet point the history of voting and never tire, but I won’t, what is important about the history is the space between the bullet points; It is there you will find my reason for voting.
Leonardo Da Vinci once said that our lives are made by the death of others, and I find that to be a profound truth. Between the bullet spacings I see death and sacrifice, and that is why I vote. Today we take a lot of our freedoms for granted, forgetting those who died and sacrificed themselves to ensure we would not suffer as they did. Voting for me is a social and—as it should be for everyone–a civic responsibility.
I sit at the front of the bus because an elderly woman allowed herself to be publicly humiliated to prove a point. I did well in school because Thurgood Marshall along with a community from Kansas fought for my right to have equal education.
Simple day-to-day activities like drinking from a public fountain, eating at a certain restaurant, hell, even making eye contact with people I pass are things I could have been denied if those iconic characters from the civil rights movement decided to stay at home and complain rather than march.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t fight for the right to vote just so we today could blow it off like we would taking out the trash or cleaning our room. Voting gives you the power to choose who leads you.
If you are one of those people who are eligible but are choosing not to vote, I can only assume that your reasoning is as follows…the system is corrupt, our votes don’t count, my one vote won’t change anything and blah blah blah, well all I have to say is I wish to not hear you complain.
I really hate it when people who don’t vote complain about the way things are. By not voting you are throwing away the biggest opportunity to have your voice heard. What makes me sick is when I’m watching the news and across the sea people the same age as us are risking death by bombing, gun fire and riot just for one chance have a say in how their country is run, and all we have to do is wake up, walk a couple blocks and check some boxes.
Whether you believe it or not, your vote matters. When you vote, you don’t just vote for yourself, but for your friends, your family and future generations. I understand that an election year can be tiresome and annoying; we live in a swing state and are flooded with ad after ad. Separating truth from fiction can become difficult and discouraging.
I know many of you may find yourselves wondering whom to vote for and whom you can trust, and the best way to do that is to educate yourself. The information is out there. Once you feel confident of your knowledge of the issues, voting becomes a simple choice of what’s right and what’s wrong.
We all have a sense of what’s right, and what’s wrong, we know what we believe and we know what we want. Come Election Day, get up, go out and vote for what you believe in.