This blog post was actually something I wrote last year, after voting in the 2015 general election. I never posted it. As I was planning posts for NaBloPoMo, I came across this old draft and decided to spruce it up for the 2016 presidential election. At the time I originally wrote it, I had no idea how much would be at stake in 2016. My major is wrapped up in policy and public management, and I admit I probably have more faith in the political process than the average American. Regardless, I think every citizen should be actively civically engaged. With all that being said, today I’m sharing the reasons I vote with you.
At age 8 I wrote my first letter to a political official. This letter, ridden with grammatical errors, was to (then) President G.W. Bush on climate change. I wish I had a copy of this letter somewhere. I had no idea at 8 years old that I would become so fascinated and engaged by politics.
People ask me why they should care. Why they should vote, why they should be fascinated by politics, why they should read about the issues and be informed voters. There is no simple answer to any of those questions.
For starters, we have the freedom to choose our political leaders, and to have a smooth transition between administrations. Each day, we take for granted that these are privileges. Do you think people all over the world have a say in their political leaders? Hint: they don’t. Even in some “democracies,” there are issues transferring power from one elected leader to the next.
People love to complain. And that is a right we are guaranteed by the constitution. Many people around the world don’t have the freedom to pick their leaders, let alone complain when they disapprove. If you are going to complain about the political climate of our country, you cannot fail to participate civically by voting or voicing your opinion to your elected officials.
If you consider the history of voting rights, very few citizens had the ability to vote when our country was established in the 1700s. Being a woman, I am incredibly grateful for all of the women who came before me to fight for the right I have today. Chances are, unless you’re a WASP male, someone fought for your ability to vote today at some point also.
There are people living in this country who don’t have the privilege to vote. These people are relying on you and your voice. At the end of the day, as an American, you have the ability to influence the political nature of your country. Use that ability wisely and inform yourself before voting.