Just to alleviate any potential anxiety regarding the contents of the following post, this will not be political. Personally, I don’t believe now (or ever, really) is the time for broadcasting my political views for all to see. As my favorite politician once said, “Alea iacta est,” what’s going to happen will happen, and it serves no purpose to preach any moral or political values I hold, as no one is going to change his or her mind.
Okay? Okay. Moving on.
Anyways, this post is less about this particular election and more about the power of the vote itself. As a young person, I had the great responsibility today of voting in my first election. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I no longer drink caffeine and am therefore never really awake until 10:00, maybe it’s just because I was distracted by my coworkers waxing poetic about the merits and drawbacks of the various state questions, but the gravity of my morning didn’t quite hit me until this evening.
Today, I exercised a right women haven’t even had for 100 years yet. Today, I participated in my government. Today I had a say. Decades ago in America, or even today in other countries, I wouldn’t be able to do that, for simple, insignificant, dehumanizing reasons.
Due the hard work of many women (yes, and men) much braver and more badass than me, I got to vote.
Let me say it one more time, let it sink in.
I got to vote.
Because the few spoke for the voiceless many, put the suffering in the word “suffragette,” and brought to light the absurdity of denying someone the right to speak up about who they want to lead their government and hold control of their own lives simply due to such irrational criteria as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, you and I had the opportunity to line up in the wee hours of the morning, stand in humid church hallways, and drink shitty coffee in the close vicinity of perfect strangers to cast our ballot for the candidates we saw fit.
Whether or not you chose to step up to the plate and use this great, wonderful power bestowed to you, you should still take a moment to consider how hard those before you fought in order to remind the white, land owning, wealthy males of the past that the brains of those not identical to them were, in fact, not impaired and were just as capable of making astute, informed opinions regarding government at any level.
No matter who you are, who you voted for, or where you stand on the entire democratic system and voting process, you have to admit it’s pretty humbling when you really think about it.
While there is always more work to be done to ensure equality for everyone across the board and miles to go before I sleep, I can rest a little easier knowing that because Elizabeth Cady Stanton took a stand, girls are leaps and bounds closer to “regarding themselves as nouns and not adjectives.” Because Susan B. Anthony, whose grave is a sight of great emotion for even the hardest of hard asses today and is a sight definitely worth seeing, people realize “suffrage is the pivotal right.” Because even modern greats like Alice Walker and the incomparable Malala Yousafzai are helping to open more people’s eyes to the undeniable facts that “no person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow” and “we cannot succeed when half of us are held back” (quoted respectively), and to that I say