Last night, after a long, grueling Monday I decided to give my parents a call to check in on how they were doing, (how my dog was doing) the latest family gossip, etcetera, etcetera. Shifting topics from crazy aunt Heather to crazy uncle Sam and the politics surrounding our nation’s current presidential election, I hesitantly asked my mom if she knew who she would be voting for today. I’d like to point out at this time that, like many student-parent relationships I know, political beliefs tend to differ between generations. (The first time I fully realized what my dad’s political beliefs were I felt like I was on an episode of Scooby Doo after they caught the villain, removed the mask, and gawked at old man Jenkins- “Zoinks, Dad! You’re a Republican??”) My mom let out an exaggerated sigh and responded with an answer that I’m sure many of us are familiar with: “I honestly just don’t know- I dislike BOTH candidates”
Her statement, while completely justifiable, worried me- not because I believe that one particular candidate is far less distasteful than another particular candidate, but because her response indicated a hesitation to vote at all. Recognizing this I assured her that no matter who she ended up voting for, her cast ballot would not just be an extension of her civic duty or part of a historical landmark election, but a celebration of her right as a woman in America to participate in the political process. A landmark event for first-wave feminists, the 19th amendment bolstered the status of women in America by recognizing their voices as a vital part of this country’s political structure. To deny this right, especially in an election that could, potentially, flip the narrative of women in politics on its head, means to dishonor the ardent strife and dedication of women against a patriarchy that had, and continues to, oppress them.
This post is not meant to sway your political beliefs, as I’m sure the media has thus far done enough to either dissuade or amplify your opinions. I simply mean to impress upon all readers that your voice in this election is so much louder than you could possibly even imagine. I know it’s easy to fall under the depressing notion that, when it comes down to it, your stand-alone vote has little impact. However, especially during an election like this one, that has questioned more than just economic and foreign policies but the very core of fundamental human rights, our votes are not just a tool to decide who wins and who loses, but a representation of what we as a people stand for and believe in. And, for a population whose voices were silenced for so long, an injustice that still effects women around the world today, remaining neutral in this election means that you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
My mom will be voting today. I will most certainly be voting today. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing today, don’t give up the power of your voice in this election- go vote.