I went out to dinner with some friends over the weekend, and (because it’s November 2016) we started talking about the election. I know, us and literally everyone else. I said that I had already voted, and one of my friends said that, *sigh*, he supposed he had to vote this year. To which I replied, “No, you get to vote.”
Which made me sound like a stuck-up civics-class Dudley Do-Right (who is Canadian, but the point still stands).Voting and politics have always been really important in my life, and it’s always weird to meet someone who is apathetic about the election. I suppose I can give credit to my parents, especially my dad, who has been a professor of Political Science since I was itty-bitty. We always talked about politics and government at the dinner table.
For my 11th birthday, my dad took me on a road trip to Washington DC to watch Bill Clinton get sworn in. DC is very cold in January, but it was still a pretty amazing day. I still have the campaign victory button that dad bought me as a birthday gift.
Some of my earliest memories are going with Mom when she went to vote in our school gym. I loved closing the velvet curtain, and Mom even let me fill in some of the bubbles for her, which may or may not have been a crime… oops!
In high school, I remember leaving school early one day to go watch Al Gore talk at a local university- not as an assignment or a class trip, just because I wanted to go with my parents. (Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.)
And, a little over 8 years ago, I was there (again in the freezing cold) when Obama announced his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old Illinois State Capitol Building.
I’ve voted in every major election since I turned 18, and a lot of the minor ones, too (especially since I moved to Washington, where they do all their voting by mail, so it’s super easy). I even caucused for Hillary Clinton during the primaries this spring! It was a very weird experience, to announce to a whole room of strangers who you were voting for after a lifetime of secret ballots.
I won’t tell you how to vote this year (though my opinions are pretty obvious), but I want you to understand how important elections are, and how amazing it is that we live in a country that lets us vote. I know it sometimes seems futile (“How can one vote matter one way or the other”), or that it is a pain to take time off work or wait in line at the polling place, but it really is a privilege. So, please vote tomorrow.(And if you’re not living in the US, sorry for all the election talk… I promise I’ll be back to knitting on Wednesday.)