I do not want to vote today. For the first time in my adult life, I do not care to exercise this right and responsibility of citizenship. At nearly 60 years of age, I’m tired of going to the polls to vote against someone. I want to wholeheartedly support a politician and their policies. I want to believe they will bring the needed change they promise to enact in the state. It seems I have company. Some experts are predicting a low voter turnout, perhaps the lowest ever for a gubernatorial election.
I am tired of the same-old, same-old of both major parties, firmly entrenched, spouting the trite slogans that lost any meaning for me eight-plus election cycles ago. When I first had the opportunity to vote, I naively believed most people ran for the greater good, to make a difference, to give back to this great country, and to be in a position to help their fellow citizens. What I have seen and experienced overall is a lust for power, recognition, and financial gain. A plundering-for-spoils mentality that reflects badly on both major parties. This attitude flows through many local elected positions, to state and federal offices, to the current presidency, which reflects our acceptance of political self-gain over country.
I had almost convinced myself to sit this one out. I’m so disgusted with the whole insular, self-propelled, political machine. And then I thought about the women who chained themselves to gates, who were beaten, jailed, and placed in insane asylums in the fight for the right to vote. I apologize to them. Why haven’t we furthered their vision? Why haven’t we demanded true equality for all in our local, state, and federal representation. We as women have the right to vote and have accepted overwhelmingly the white male politician. Why? Is it because that’s what voters have been offered? Why have we accepted this as the status quo?
It’s time for equality in the political system. Diversity can make us stronger as a nation and perhaps drive us back to the ballot box. And yes, of course, it does come down to what does the politician represent. If it’s my values, I will continue to vote for that white male politician. But look at the overall national picture of who is representing us. It is long past time for the major parties to step up and offer true inclusivity. Perhaps then we can discuss real issues, confront the problems in our communities and our nation, and push back from the sloganeering nonsense. Bring civics back to our classrooms and educate tomorrow’s citizens about their rights and obligations to their country.
I will vote, not happily, but I will do it for those citizens who came before me and dedicated their lives to positive change for all of us. And I will cast that ballot especially for the women who despaired that we would ever get the opportunity to vote and yet despite hardship, ridicule, and personal distress, never gave up the fight. I will go and pull that lever in recognition of them and gratitude for their true belief in democracy and the importance of all of us having a voice in the electoral process.