Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pull That Lever!

Voter registration deadlines are here (many have passed!), so it's as good a time as any to let you know that I'm obsessed with making sure people vote. It's literally my obsession.

I think it started because I was not born in the U.S. and the thing I looked forward to before becoming a citizen was voting. Finally, I'd have a say in the government! My opinion would matter! Nothing seemed better to me than that. I'd think about women and men who picketed, protested, and had hunger strikes for the right to be heard like the white, land-owning men who had that right all along. They struggled to take part in the ultimate democratic act: voting for the leader they wanted. And even after having the right on paper, they still had to fight to actually cast their votes. I do not take for granted that I can step into a voting booth on Election Day.

Hence, my obsession.

So, imagine my surprise when one of my sisters informs me she won’t be voting! I proceeded to give her a 15-minute lecture on why she needs to get to the polls. I won't put you through all of that, but will give you my final point -- people who complain that their voice isn't heard (usually young people or Latinos, in my experience), aren't making it better by not voting. Then politicians can say "well, they never make it to the polls." If you really want to make a stink, prove you're not just lazy or disinterested by actually going to the polls and simply not marking a candidate. Pull that lever without voting for anybody! It's a win-win: you don't end up voting for somebody you don't like or aren't informed about, and you still count as having gone to the polls! If more people did this, I guarantee candidates would focus more on these groups.

Okay, off my soapbox... But remember to pull that lever!

And don't forget to watch the 2nd presidential debate tonight on any major network!

(Cross-posted at Jump off the Bridge)


Original Designer Woman said...

Thank you for posting informative links for our youths Sally! It's weird because I know of many adults who said they are not voting! I too gave them the 15 minute pitch if you will lol

Some people don't realize HOW important it is to get out and vote.

Thanks again

Zanade :-)

Kekla Magoon said...

So often, I think the decision to vote comes down to self-confidence and valuing your own voice in the first place. Voting is simple, but not easy.

Unfortunately, I think this is especially true for women/minorities/low income workers, who all carry the legacy of oppression. We're still subconsciously conditioned to believe that power is out of our hands.

Pauline Karakat said...

I am trying to convince my brother to vote next month. He dislikes both presidential candidates and just doesn't want to make a decision on either one of them. I hope I will be able to convince him to do otherwise.

I could never NOT vote, especially when I think of how hard women fought to earn the right to vote in this country. Women's and minorities' rights are still threatened and suppressed in other countries, so I feel that we ALL have an obligation to head out to the polls and "pull that lever," as Sally says! I think my brother might be open to that idea, so thank you for writing this post!

sally said...

Pauline, I hope your brother at least makes it to the polls -- has he considered voting for another party?

Kekla, you're spot on about it being connected to their own voice. I think that's partly related to the "my vote doesn't count" reason too b/c people think only rich, white man count in politics. If you're none of these things, then it's hard to feel like you have power. But you do!!

Zanade, try to get the word out to whoever is thinking about not voting. Older adults can be the hard ones to convince b/c they're already jaded. Hopefully we can all convince them otherwise.

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