And now I step onto my soapbox

All right you motherfuckers. My depressed, dejected ass voted at 7:45 this morning (which made me 30 minutes early to work. Ridiculous). Here’s the obligatory boob shot for proof:

Yeah, I’m busty. Anyway, I didn’t sleep well last night I guess out of worry for today. I have hardly been politically active or even that engaged past watching the debates, so it surprised me. I waited to do my ballot-initiative research until the last minute, but I did it. This morning, I drove to my polling place, not sure if I had changed my registration address quickly enough, and there was my weird little name on the registration list. I had to go through a couple of extra steps because I’d been sent a mail-in ballot that I chose not to use, but it all took under 10 minutes. Back home, we voted by completing an arrow (though I hear that’s not the case any more). Here we use this little contraption and a marker that looks like one of those (hanging) chad punchers but is actually inked. Without the contraption, you can’t read the ballot. It was weird but fun.

As disillusioned as I am with life a lot of the time, I’m fairly patriotic. I mean that word in its truest sense, not as a substitution for “nationalist” or “jingoist.” I was an American Studies major in college because I’m fascinated by the complicated fabric of this nation. I also know that things only get better when people who care enough to bitch also care enough to stand up for something. Voting is a right, but it’s also a responsibility. It is how we control our destiny. The system is flawed, but not so deeply as many believe. Travel to Europe or — hell — a non-democratic country. It will force you to reevaluate.

Only 100 years ago, I would have been turned away at the polling place because I have a vagina. One hundred years ago. The same year that women’s suffrage became a constitutional right across this country, electricity was appearing in homes across America. Poignant.

With that in mind, I actually love in-person voting. The months (or in the case of this election, years) leading up to Election Day drive me crazy and remind me of why I don’t pay for TV. But on the day I cast my ballot, I feel so connected to my community. I appreciate the volunteers who rise before the sun to give their days to the political process. I appreciate the government buildings, churches, community centers, and schools who donate their space to allow people to participate in the electoral process. I appreciate the almost universal cheerfulness of my fellow voters. I appreciate living in a country that lets me contribute in a not-insubstantial way to my own leadership.

Are there things I would change about this nation if I could? Hell yes. Would I like a better, less acrimonious, more streamlined election process? Most definitely. But I don’t think abstaining from voting accomplishes anything. We are all free to choose not to vote, but we should all remember that it’s a choice we are fortunate to have. I choose to participate in the future of my country in my own small but important way.

Also, my LA polling place is a fire station. My polling place back home was named after a politician who was in favor of mistreating prisoners at Guantanamo because it was probably better than being in one of Saddam Hussein’s prisons. America, fuck yeah.


2 thoughts on “And now I step onto my soapbox

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