The day has finally arrived! Election day – the day that, as citizens of the United States, we get to vote. Voting is not something that has always been available to all of us. It took 94 years for black men and 144 years for women to win this right. It is a right AND a privilege and it should be something that every American feels strongly about doing. Unfortunately, the percentage of voters that actually make it to the polls is just slightly over half of the total population of eligible voters.
To be specific, 57.5% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2012 election (source: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/library/2012-voter-turnout/), which was down from the 2008 percentage of 62.3%. The percentage of registered voters who voted, in 2012, was at approximately 82%, but that number could be a lot higher if more Americans registered and felt the drive to exercise their rights.
What this all means is that just over half of the population determines who the President, Congress, and Senate members will be for the following 4-6 years. That is a sad state of affairs, considering how much struggle has gone into making it possible for each and every one of us to be able to have the right to vote.
So – if you are thinking of skipping the polls today it would be a travesty. Here are the reasons I vote – maybe you can relate to one (or several) of these, yourself. If so, please get out there and exercise your right to vote!
- I vote for my niece and nephew, that their future lives might be improved by the leaders that we choose today.
- I vote for my Nana, who was never able to cast her ballot for a woman candidate to the office of POTUS, and would certainly be overjoyed to see Hillary Rodham Clinton as the democratic candidate and 45th President.
- I vote for my Grandma Kitty, who I hope would have been strong enough to cast her ballot for a woman candidate, despite the stifling influence of her familial hierarchy.
- I vote for my Mama Kate, who although she was a conservative Christian, would have seen the value in a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and whom I believe would have set aside any religious zealotry from her pastor to vote her moral conscience for the good of the nation.
- I vote for my Aunt, who lives under the haze of a patriarchy that has made her believe she cannot vote for any candidate other than a white male for the office of President. For her, I cast my vote to improve her world, even in the face of hatred and bigotry.
- I vote for my great Aunt (and many other women in my ancestry) who had to endure the pain and suffering of a medical procedure that could have been made safe by legalization, and which, to this day, is still being attacked by a system unwilling to see the value in women’s decisions and grant women full bodily autonomy.
- I vote for the women who came before me and passed away before 1920, who never had the opportunity to cast a ballot in any election in the United States of America.
- I vote for the suffragettes that struggled to make this right available to all women; being beaten, arrested, and some even dying along the way.
- I vote for the women in other nations that are still unable to cast a ballot in their national elections, that they may soon be able to do so.
- I vote for the future of this nation, that all children regardless of their sex organs and gender presentation, will see themselves in our leaders.
- I vote because I have to – because my life depends on it – because there is no other choice.
Get out there and vote!
Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)
Looking for hope? Here it is: 2016 election forecast from fivethirtyeight.com #imwithher