Every now and then we have a chance to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Tomorrow is such a day. Tomorrow, we will have a say in our country’s future and a chance to make history. But, that’s only if we vote.
About a year ago, one of the young woman in my class admitted that she wasn’t going to vote in the presidential election. After I faked a heart attack, I reminded her that a vote – particularly one cast by a woman – should never be wasted. It took more than a century for us to win this right, as well as great personal sacrifice for many of the women involved in the fight. (See Iron Jawed Angels, HBO’s movie about Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. HBO is playing the movie at 3:45 p.m. EDT tomorrow.)
So, when I step into the booth, I do it for the right to have a say in the direction of my life and my country. But I also do it to honor Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony and all the other brave women who believed our gender had a right to make a difference. I step into that booth to preserve this right not just for me, but for our daughters.
We cannot afford to be apathetic, because it will only lead to second-class citizenship. There’s too much at stake: We are a country at war, burdened by a financial crisis and still struggling with far too many social problems. We need the wisdom of women to solve these problems. Our votes do mean something.
Perhaps this is why I get so frustrated when people talk about writing in a friend’s name, rather than choosing a candidate. It’s their out – a vote that is not really a vote. Choose! I say. You may not like either candidate, but chances are, there’s one in the field that you like just enough.
Likewise, I’m equally frustrated with those who think the outcome is a foregone conclusion. They won’t bother to vote because the exit polls say one candidate is so far ahead, that the election has already been decided. No. Not true. No one has it in the bag; if enough people decide to give up their vote, they may just see their opportunity to make a difference evaporate.
So find your voice – and go vote. It’s worth it.