2007 was the first time I can remember being excited about the idea of voting. I was 12 at the time, and for the first time in our history, America had the opportunity to elect it’s first female or Black president. I was equally excited for either option.
I remember when Obama was elected and how much of a profound impact it had on the adults around me. The day that he was elected, my mother cried as she stared at the tv and said, “I never thought I’d live to see the day.” That moment has stuck with me for all of these years for a variety of reasons. One of them being the obvious reason that history was made and I was alive to see it. But the other reason was because of my mother and seeing her cry. I didn’t fully understand her tears at the time.
On the day of Obama’s inauguration, my middle school brought the entire student body into the common room to watch as he was sworn in. I remember not really paying attention at first and squirming around as I tried to get comfortable, when all of a sudden I was hit with an understanding of why this moment was so important. In that instance I immediately understood why my mother had been crying. After that, I stopped fidgeting and watched the rest of the inauguration in silence. I think that was the moment that I truly became excited about the idea of voting.
After that day, I knew that if I had that ability to vote, I had the ability to create change. It meant making history and opening doors for future generations. It meant that I had the opportunity to make life better for myself and for those around me. I was too young to make change back then, but I vowed to myself that I would vote in every election that I was able to from that point on.
The first election that I was able to vote in was the 2016 election and in hindsight, I’d say that was a hell of an election to cut my teeth on. I knew back in 2016 that the 2020 election would be no different, but I hoped that this time I would be prepared for it. All I can say is that time I’ve decided that regardless of what happens, I will continue to fight for a country that I can be proud to call my home.
This election is the same as the last few elections in that we have a chance to make great change. We have a choice to make about what kind of country we want to live in. We can either come together as Americans and fight for fairness and a better quality of life for all of us, or we can let hatred and division become our legacy.
I truly believe that most Americans want to come together as a country. We can’t be a strong country if we are divided, because a divided house will not stand. And in order to grow together and become stronger, we cannot continue to ignore the glaring problems of this country. Not voting is a way of avoiding the problem. It’s saying that someone else’s voice is more important than your own. It’s a way of saying that because something doesn’t directly impact you, it’s not a problem. My belief is that we cannot call ourselves a great country if we continue down this path of oppression and inequality as we have for so long.
As Americans, we need to for once in our history truly stand by the words that this country was founded on:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
If you’re not happy with the way the current administration has been running things, be like myself and the 60 million+ other Americans who have already cast their votes. It is time for all of us to take action and be the change we wish to see.
So please, if you’re able to and you haven’t already, vote.