A few days ago my friend Christina over at It’s Mine & Mine Only challenged me to write a post about why I vote. Today’s the first time I’ve been able to get online to do it so I’ve had a bit of time to gather my thoughts about the subject.
In the mid-90s I was a college student at the University of Utah taking a politics class. I don’t remember the exact name, just remember that I dreaded the required credit. Politics held no interest for me and having turned 18 a few years earlier, I hadn’t cared about my newly acquired right to vote. But there I was, forced to sit through the class for a semester. Little did I know that weeks into it, I would be fascinated. I can’t really remember the exact reason I had a change of heart, but I did. But that changed.
At the end of the semester we had a final. It was essay questions and I was ready to put all of my new knowledge and understanding on paper. I wrote feverishly and with enthusiasm. I was excited for our next class session so I could see my good grade, an affirmation that the class had indeed done what a college class should, made me think. To my disappointment there was a big “C” on my test. I stayed after class to talk to my professor about my grade and learned that what she was looking for was a regurgitation of her lectures and not responses based on actual thinking. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Though maybe immature (I was only in my 20s) I once again became disinterested in politics. I ignored elections with all of my might.
It wasn’t until the fall of 2004 when that changed. An adult in my 30s, charged with being a surrogate guardian for the 50 or so college students in the student housing I managed, I was to be an example to them of the kind of adult they should begin to be. I registered to vote, became somewhat engaged, and as a group we went to vote. It was momentous. It was the first vote all of us would cast and though for me it felt a little different because the right had been mine for years, it still felt like an incredible gift to all of us. We stood in line excited at the opportunity, and most of us shed a little tear as we walked out of the polling place knowing we had done something that not everyone in the world has a right to do.
But if 2004 was exciting, 2008 was an adrenaline rush. I not only voted, I was engaged. I read everything I could, and as I had just started to blog (back in the MySpace blog days), I shared my thoughts whenever I could, unfortunately at times to the detriment of some friendships. I was extreme voting in ’08.
So after all of that, why do I vote?
#iVote because I learned that I was right to be upset at being asked to regurgitate someone else’s thoughts and opinions instead of thinking critically on my own
#iVote because it’s my responsibility to be a part of forming the world I live in into something positive and good for all.
#iVote because I want to be an example to the next generation.
#iVote because someone out there can’t and I cannot take my right for granted.
#iVote because I believe in humanity.
See why others vote…