Some miscellaneous thoughts on voting:

Voting is sort of hard. Getting your paperwork turned in, making sure addresses and name changes match up, making sure you research all of California’s insane propositions, finding your polling place, standing in lines, using the weird little ink stamp machine thingie. Shoot. I am an educated, intelligent, politically engaged lady and I could have easily made a fatal mistake at some step along the way. What does that mean for my neighbors who don’t speak much English, or have disabilities, or don’t own cars, or can’t research on the internet?

Voting is surprisingly casual. Show up in sweats, fill out a little form, get on your way. No metal detector or pat-down, no admissions test or prerequisites. I just walked in and, ten minutes later, walked out. There is something oddly disjointed about doing such a deeply important and heavily fought-for task while wearing slippers, while men and (especially) women around the globe are without that opportunity.

Voting is depressingly dramatic. Why do my extended family members feel a need to send me long chain emails disparaging a candidate that they assume I support (though they never asked – and I don’t post political thoughts on social media)? Why do friendships become tense in the midst of election season? Why do we all seem to feel a need to persuade others of our perspective, to feel personally offended by anyone who disagrees, to feel justified in judging a person’s entire character and self based on a single view or decision? I have respected and beloved friends and family who all vote very differently. And I am glad for that.

Voting is somewhat ineffective. I mean that on a national scale, as a resident of California – where political ads aren’t even worth financing, and a vote for either side in a presidential race is almost equally frivolous. Of course, I still cast a vote for president (and other seats that I’ll probably hardly affect); principle does outweigh practicality, for me. But this fact has fortunately  made me care much more about local politics. City measures and candidates influence my life more directly and actually need my vote, even though reading up on my local city charter is not nearly as glamorous as touting support for a presidential candidate.

Voting matters. Today, I exercised a right that women before me battled with their whole lives to earn – to them, I am deeply indebted. It is the profundity of that right that makes me care a bit less who or what you vote for; really, I just want you to be an informed, compassionate, conscientious voter. And it causes me to wonder what sort of rights people around me are being denied today. What could I be fighting for now so that others enjoy more freedoms later? What am I responsible to pursue on behalf of those who cannot? Where is my place in the long line of activists who made this morning possible for me?



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2 Responses to rock it

  1. tamera jane says:

    See, I’m in the group who doesn’t talk to family who votes / believes differently. Because at this point, it’s very right/wrong to me and I figure they’re grownups who know better. So, if they’re into denying huge amount of people human rights, they can get out of my life. The end.

    • Emily Rose says:

      Yeah, I get that. Circumstantially, I don’t end up interacting with my most strongly disagreeing family very often at all. I just hate the idea of intentionally totally cutting off relationship with people based on politics; of course, politics at a certain point becomes personal, and at that point it seems fully legitimate to do what you need to do.

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