National Voter Registration Day reminded all of us that the fight for democracy and justice is far from over, and that voter suppression, fear, and intimidation is real. Real like a George Orwell novel real.
Now while 2020 has proven to be a dumpster fire of anxiety and rage, it is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s right to vote. Voting is our superpower. It is our way to lead the movement and not just sit idly by, watching life happen.
If you are not registered, don’t be embarrassed; you’re not alone. There is still some time (depending on your state), but what are you waiting for? A direct invitation? You got it.
From: The Cool Table
What: Vote to Register
No gifts please. Your vote is gift enough.
Do it for RGB. Do it for John Lewis. Do it for Breonna Taylor. Do it for those whose last words were, “I can’t breathe.” Do it for women. Do it for your children. Do it for all children. Do it for the powerless.
Just fucking do it.
Vote, Baby, Vote!
What sets my teeth on edge is when I hear able bodied Americans carelessly utter these five words: “I’m not going to vote.”
Let’s do a quick checklist of who can vote in the good old USA:
- Are you over the age of 18?
- Are you a legal U.S. citizen?
- Do you have a pulse?
- Do you give a shit about what happens to your country?
If you answered “Yes” to all the above, you have the ability and right to vote.
But hey, I get it. The past few elections may have left a bitter taste in your mouth, and this past year alone didn’t help matters. In fact, it may have made it worse for you. You just can’t take it anymore, and you would rather eat rusty nails and listen to “Mambo No. 5” played by one hundred kazoos on repeat than put up with it anymore.
Well, let me break it to you: change doesn’t happen until you speak up, and how do you speak up?
Let me remind you why: come this November 3rd, the most important decision you will make this year will be the decision to vote.
Because This is ‘Merica
Sit down, boys and girls – Miss Julie is about to educate you on democracy. A democracy is a representative government for the people by the people. Do you know how the “by” part happens? By voting.
As citizens in a democratic society, we sometimes get too comfortable and take for granted our basic unalienable rights, and that even includes the right to vote in an election. We think that our votes don’t count,
throw out lose the absentee ballot, or make excuses why we can’t make it to the polls.
But do me a favor, open a separate tab on your internet browser and search for “Iraq’s first election” and see the sea of purple fingerprints – a way to prevent voter fraud. Then Google “Women voting in Saudi Arabia” to see the line of women doing the unthinkable: waiting to cast a ballot for the first in 2015.
These voters, for decades, had their voices silent by ruthless powers and corrupted governments. What we sometimes take for granted, these people took as a ray of hope, an opportunity to change the political landscape of their home.
So, before you dig deep to find that excuse to not vote, remember those purple fingers.
Because Someone Fought for Your Right
Sit back and relax because it’s story time!
A long time ago, there was this magical kingdom where men were made of brain and braun and women were made of sugar and baby makers. Men, fearing for the delicacy of the women’s oh so fragile minds, thought it would be best if their mothers, wives, and daughters didn’t have to suffer through the grueling task of entering a voting booth, examining a ballot, and making a puncture mark next to a name.
And women thought they were batshit crazy.
It is the centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. And if you paid any attention in your high school U.S. history class, you know that amendment was not easily created. It came on the heels of years of protests, marches throughout the nation, emotional and even physical abuse at the hands of opposers, even wrongful imprisonments.
Let us not forget the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – that’s right, only 51 years ago – which legally prohibits any racial discrimination in the voting process. I don’t think I need to remind you of the images of American citizens being sprayed down with fire hoses and beaten to an inch of their life just because they wanted to enter a voting booth.
But I know you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I thank these people? What could I give that could possibly express my deepest gratitude for this natural gift?”
Um, vote. And the best part about it? It’s free and you don’t need a gift receipt. Unless you count your “I Voted” sticker.
Because Otherwise You Can’t Complain
Okay, so yes, we have the freedom of speech. And yes, this freedom includes the right to complain about the state of our union without persecution.
But if you don’t vote, your complaint is null and void, and really, no one wants to hear it.
Voting is your way of speaking up, letting your voice be heard, making a change. It’s your freedom of expression and making that puncture mark on that ballot speaks louder than any blowhard who’s about to pass out from his rant on why gun control is for the weak-minded.
And you want to know why it’s louder? Because with this one question, you can silence those critics: Did you vote?
If the answer is no, drop the figurative mic and walk away with your head held high because you won this round.
Because You Are the Example
Chances are there is a little person in your life, who may or may not look like you, have the same last name as you, follows you around like a little shadow or ninja, and considers you sitting on a toilet a good time to stand in front of you and ask questions.
Whether it’s your own child, grandchild, or a niece or nephew, the children in our lives absorb our actions, make little mental notes and store them away for later, perhaps even visit a therapist years later to discuss why Mama called them “the spare.”
But one of the most important actions you can make in front of the next generation is the act of voting.
We want the best for our children: the best schools, the best medical care, the best environment, the best birthday parties that blow your rival carpool mom’s parties out of the water. But in order to provide the best, we have to make it a possibility and sometimes, it doesn’t happen without our vote.
If there’s anything we want our children to inherit, let it be our right to vote. And our narrow feet.
You have no excuse. Just vote.
Portions of this article first appeared in September 2016 at That’s Normal.
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.