As I take in what is going on in this wonderful nation of ours I am inspired and horrified in equal measure. Like so many others I believed my single, solitary, measly little vote did not matter.
Let me clarify.
We recently moved to a very “red” state. I had previously lived in another red state and believed that my sole “blue” vote counted very little in the grand scheme of things. Having moved, I was in no hurry to update my driver’s license and because of my slacker-laissez-faire attitude I was unable to get my voter registration sorted out in time for the 2016 presidential election. I was not overly concerned. My husband (who is much more diligent in these matters) had his voter registration (as well as his new driver’s license) well taken care of months ago. He would be casting his (read: our) vote on November 8th, and I would take comfort that his ballot would be mine, too. I’m pretty sure I heard that in our marriage vows somewhere fifteen years ago ago (every Suffragist who ever lived is rolling in her grave right now, I know).
And like so many others I believed in the herd-immunity theory of elections. The “herd protection” would be strong enough to overcome my lazy, un-American, elitist, lethargic, liberal recklessness and another Democrat would win the presidential race. After all, no one seriously thought such a wild card outsider and general rabble-rouser would actually win the highest elected position in the free world.
Well, as my mother would say: “See where your laziness gets you?”
She, I imagine like many other mothers, is always right.
What did my laziness get me?
Well, first it got me shell-shocked. Then it got me scared. This was quickly followed by denial, heartbreak, and ended with very ugly crying and more fear. This was all by the end of business Wednesday, November 9th. There is no telling what else my and other people’s laziness will get us over the next four years.
What the hell did I expect?
Voting counts. Elections count. My voice…every single voice counts.
I in way excuse my behavior. As a matter of fact I am super pissed off at myself. No one can say anything to me that I haven’t already said to myself. How can I even dare to call myself a feminist? An American? A believer in the Constitution and Democracy? I know better.
We all do.
I also know that most people aren’t lazy – we are all different individuals and use our wonderful rights to support our strongest held beliefs. Some of us vote all the time, some of us never vote, some of us vote in half-measures. I do not judge anyone else for how they choose to live their lives in this great of country of ours. And that’s what makes America great already. We have all these wonderful freedoms, these rights protected by the highest courts and the highest elected and non-elected officials. We can say what we want, do what makes us happy (so long as it doesn’t break any laws), and generally have a kick-ass life if we put in the work and effort to make it happen.
So why did I write this? Well, I was cooking dinner for my family and I started thinking about all of these things. I started thinking that it is my duty as an American and as a mother to lead by example. I failed in both regards on Election Day.
I never will again.
And it is my sincerest wish others learn from my mistake.
I plan on donating my time, money, and effort in every way possible over these next four years supporting the causes and agencies I believe in. I will never again forget or shirk my duties as an American. The stakes are too high. Elections are important because they not only strike the path our country is going to take in the present, but also mold the future we leave for our children, our grandchildren, and even our great-grandchildren. I wish I had thought of these things in the months prior to the Election. Hell, I wish I had thought of these things the morning of, but like the saying goes: “What’s done is done and can’t be undone.”
What matters now is what we do going forward. I will take my little blue flag and plant it in the vast red sea I live in and make an island. Hopefully, in four years, I will be able to celebrate the fact that my little island stood strong in the face of whatever storms may have come to pass.
And hopefully our strong, amazing, infuriating, maddening, incredible melting-pot of a nation will be standing right along with it.