My vote doesn’t count. As a resident in a state that will go decidedly one way, you could say that my vote doesn’t make a difference. So why, you may ask, have I tortured myself, then, in watching every minute of every debate this year? Why have I taken in more information and more hate and more views each and every day that make my stomach turn and my head ache? Why have I bothered at all?
It’s because my vote does matter. It matters to me. When all is said and done, on November 9th and ten and twenty years from now and in the silence of my own heart, it matters. I don’t want to hitch my wagon to a cause or a person that I find completely unworthy, but that’s the reality many of us face today. We’re supposed to choose from the lesser of two evils, but there is something in my spirit that says, simply, no.
I will not face my children, a daughter and a son, and tell them that I put my affirmative stamp on the disgusting, hate-filled, offensive rhetoric that we are hearing. I will not block my ears and my eyes to the abuse of people or government, obvious lies and the self-serving nature of people and their campaigns. I will not vote based on fear-mongering or promises built on sand. No.
I am a politically moderate, Catholic woman who leans toward less government. I have taken it all in and I’m disgusted by most and disappointed by them all…the people who are running and their endorsers who chose a politically expedient path at the detriment of truth-telling. I have a well-functioning mind and a discerning spirit. I have no need of anyone’s advice or direction, and I completely respect the decision of others when it comes to this election. We all have our reasons.
My sole motivation is that I want to be able to look myself in the mirror, decades from now, when the results of this election will have written their pages into the story of how our country moves forward. I want my children and my future grandchildren to know that words matter and votes matter and character, in fact, matters more than everything else. Even when no one is looking, like in a voting booth. Maybe especially then.
So I will vote, because our right to vote is sacred. It has been won for us by people who may be looking down at this election with the same sad, shaking heads that I see everywhere these days. The hard work will come afterward, in the reckoning that must follow, when we examine how our best efforts and ideals have led us to this point. If our values are indeed mirrored in our government, and if we, in fact, get the leaders we deserve… well, we have far bigger things to worry about than who will sit in the oval office. The silver lining of this election may be that it has brought so much to the surface in our public conversation that begs examination, challenge, and change. I truly believe that whether and how we engage in that conversation will tell the story of the next chapter. In the end, it may be what counts the most.