Usually, I'm pretty excited about voting on election days. Even when I was little, standing in line with Mom and Dad was a treat. I was fascinated by the voting booths and I always got a sticker. The act of voting has just always made feel like I am truly part of this country and going to the polls on election day is part of that. This year, though...I'm not so sure. This election year has been physically disabling for me to witness, mostly because those voices that support Trump have been so loud and scary. I cringe knowing that our country is filled with such hatefulness. There have been moments when I've been caught chewing on my lip with worry over Trump wining this election, even though everyone around me keeps telling me it is not going to happen. Every time someone tells me there's no way he'll win I have flashbacks of November 8th, 2000.
I started having anxiety about making it to the polling place on time on election day and about how long the line might be weeks ago. I'm a planner and there is nothing I can predict about the state of our poling place on election day. They had technical difficulties when we went to vote in the primaries that resulted in long slow moving lines. A repeat of something like that makes me worry about logistics of dinner and the length of time the dog is stuck in her crate. I mean, what if we end up standing in line so long that polls close before we can vote?! When someone at work mentioned last week that you could do early voting at Union Station, I started to think really hard about just getting it over with. I knew we'd be at Union Station at some point on Saturday with Robin and S because Union Station is my favorite place to take visitors. I like to point out the bullet holes in the front of the building. So, I asked Michael on Saturday morning how he felt about voting early. He thought this sounded like a splendid idea.
Saturday morning, Michael and I voted in the 2016 Presidential Election. Since the early voting place was set up just like a regular voting place, I didn't feel like I was missing out on the voting experience. They even gave us our "I Voted!" stickers. I looked at Michael when we left the polling place and I opened my mouth to say "I just voted for the first female president of the United States" except a sob bubble of emotion just came out instead. I was a little over come by being part of a very big historical moment that has been too long in the making. I was also a lot relieved. The rush and hustle of getting to our polling place in time to vote is no longer even an issue or thought in my brain. All of that worry and anxiety floated away as I placed my ballot in the designated envelope, watched a lady notarize it and then hand it back to me so I could put it in the ballot box.
I'd like to remind some people who I've heard say that they are not voting this year, that there's a whole lot more on the ballot than who will be our next president. Real change starts at a local level and in your own community. If you don't vote you don't have a voice in what is happening in your own community. You are also hitching your wagon to representatives who do not represent you and senators who do not care if they do their job. I'd also like to remind one young woman in particular that women had to literally fight for their rights to vote in this country. Suffragettes faced imprisonment and beatings. Some of them lost their children because the men they were married to kicked them out of their homes. VOTING IS A PRIVILEGE. There are women in other countries who risk their lives just by going to the polls even though it is their legal right to vote. VOTING IS A PRIVILEGE.
Civic Duty: CHECK!