[My sister-in-law posted this to her Facebook page the day after the elections. I asked her permission to post it here because I enjoyed it so much. I think her exhortation is something we need to consider well before the next turn at vote arrives.]
Vote- It’s important but not for the reason you may think –
Some people believe that voting in a political election is like choosing between having your eyes gouged out by a hot poker or scooped out by a Hoodsie ice cream spoon.
Both options are painful and you end up blind either way.
I used to be one of you. Until today.
It doesn’t matter who you vote for. It doesn’t matter who wins the election. It doesn’t matter if the choice at the polls is between Dr. Evil/ Dr. Strangelove and Mother Theresa/Pollyanna.
The only thing that matters is that you vote.
The power of the vote is not in who accumulates the most. The power in the vote is the person casting it. Each and every person who casts a vote exercises their personal power.
Each person who casts a vote does so because we are a culture that believes one person can make a difference. Voting is a mindset. We are part of a system, however flawed it may be, that encourages us to participate and make our choice, to have a voice. This attitude is so pervasive that it extends far beyond the voting booth and seeps into our identity as Americans. When I think about it, I’m not sure how much change actually happened because we “voted” either for it or against it.
Women were not given the vote in 1920. Women took the vote. They picketed outside Woodrow Wilson’s White House and went to prison – where they were beaten and tortured for days. They had no one to save them. Alice Paul began a hunger strike, and was force fed raw eggs through a tube jammed down her throat. In the end, women earned the right to vote. Women risked their lives, went to prison, were beaten for the right to vote, but what was it they wanted to vote for?
Had their choices changed? Was there a woman they could vote into office to promote women’s issues? No! Women couldn’t vote, so they sure as hell couldn’t run for office. But they could make a difference. They cast their vote even before they picketed Wilson’s White House.
Rosa Parks decided one day that she was going to sit in the front of the bus. Was she allowed to do this because we voted on this issue? No, she took the seat. She took the right. She cast her vote.
Change happens, and then we vote. Change happens because we believe that one person can make a difference. And that’s why I voted today. I am one person. I can make a difference.
When you choose not to vote, you give away your power. If enough people give away their power, they will cease to believe that they can make a difference and that they matter. If enough people believe that they don’t m