Civic Duty

I remember the first time that I voted. It wasn’t the first election that I was old enough for, but the 2004 election. I was already in the Army, and they gave everyone about an hour off work to go to their polling place to cast their ballot.

I remembering a feeling of exuberance that I was an active part of society. I’m not sure if it was a silly thing to feel such joy for the act of voting, but when I think about how long women weren’t allowed to because they weren’t really considered to be smart or important enough (or dare I say that they weren’t treated as citizens but rather property?) to vote, I decide it wasn’t silly at all.

This year, however, hasn’t had me feeling that way at all. From the beginning, when there were no decent candidates on the Republican side, I began dreading the election. I had feelings of dread that it was going to be the worst of the possible evils on both sides.

For a long time I decided that I just wouldn’t vote. I didn’t like the people in the race so I would show my distaste by not participating. But then I decided that wouldn’t be fair to the women who fought for the right. It wouldn’t be fair to the men who fought for the country’s freedom in the beginning. As a citizen, it’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly or for granted.

So I did a little homework, wrote my choices down for those who were running, and for the first time I didn’t vote a party ticket, but rather a jumble of both sides based on how my views aligned with theirs.

I don’t have that feeling of elation that I had that first time voting twelve years ago, but there is a satisfaction knowing that I let my voice be heard, small as it is in this large country. Does my vote weigh heavier than it did in my last precinct (it being a very, very red state) now that I live in one of the “battleground” states? I don’t know, and I’m not sure I will ever have a real answer for that.

The day is still early. If you haven’t voted yet, I encourage you to do so. Even if you feel it’s rigged. Even if your views are not mine.

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