Just as they did for the 2008 Presidential election, Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray, Lee Wind at I'm Here, I'm Queer. What the hell do I read? and Greg Pinkus at GottaBook and The Happy Accident have organized an event where you can explain why you vote. Simply write a post talking about why you vole and once it is published, you can leave the link to it with Colleen at Chasing Ray. Why I Vote will run from now until election day. Thank you for hosting Why I Vote again, Colleen.
I once stated on this blog that I have voted in every election, including primaries, since I began voting. I didn't say it to be arrogance, it was simply a statement of fact.
You see, my dad was an immigrant. He came here for a better life and he found one. After a few years, he became a citizen and, despite our childish here-we-go-again-eye-rolling, he never got tired of telling us how lucky we were to be born in this country - especially on the first Tuesday of every November. Every election day was the same in my house: my dad would get up around 6, make coffee, read the paper, wake up my mom and the two of them would go off to vote. A little later, they would come home, and we would all have a big breakfast before he headed off to work. My parents never talked about their candidates, just the importance of taking a stand and voting on it. And I realized that voting was simply ingrained in me and I took it for granted that my sister, my brother and I would vote as adults - and we do.
But this week, as the Presidential election was heading into the home stretch, I began to think seriously about why I vote as I watched how easily Hurricane Sandy destroyed the topography of so much of what I have known and loved my whole life in a matter of hours.
Politicians can do the same thing, change the whole landscape of our lives. So, I vote because it is my responsibility to actively participate in how this country is run by choosing candidates who represent my ideas of what I think a good life in America should look like.
Although this country has made great strides in making sure everyone is treated equally and enjoys the same rights and privileges, but it still has a long way to go. I vote in the hope that we will finish the job.
As a woman I understand how hard woman had to fight for the right to vote and I vote to honor their fight and their memory.
As a person who is not African American but who is a caring human being, I truly appreciate how hard it was to overturn Jim Crow laws and to make voting a right for all persons of color and I vote to honor the memory of those Civil Rights workers and to keep voting a reality for ALL Americans.
As I watch people in other countries fighting and dying to overthrow the dictatorships under which they live and transform their countries into democracies, I vote for representatives who will support this effort and to keep democracy alive in this country.
I can still hear my dad saying to my mom on election morning "Come on, darlin', it's time to go vote" and I vote to honor his example and his memory.
Just one more thing -
Responsible voting also means having knowledge about what you are doing. "Because s/he is really good looking" isn't a reason to vote for someone. But knowing what they stand for and that it is in agreement with what you believe is a good reason to elect someone. Carefully study the issues, the candidates and even the proposition on the ballot and don't forget about the local candidates who are also running. Remember, locally elected officials can have a trickle up effect all the way to the White House.