This was the first year I voted. I've been registered for a while, but every time I had the opportunity to vote, I've either been too lazy to go out or wildly pessimistic about the election in general. This year, however, I decided to act like the adult I am and fulfill my civic responsibility.
And I'm so glad I did.
When I first entered the booth, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I actually needed one of the volunteers to help me figure out how to cast my vote (I didn't know the boards were touch screens). Even though I was clueless on how to use the technology, I was pretty well-informed about the candidates and that's what made it all worthwhile.
See, voting isn't just about the support of a party or excising your right to vote just because you can. Voting is about taking your life into your own hands. Yes, you read that right: your life. Whether you choose to believe it or not, who is elected in office has a direct bearing on your standard of living and quality of life. Researching each candidate and their policies filled me with a passion and a hunger I had never quite experienced. It wasn't the same type of emotion I feel when I think about writing or helping others, but it was just as valuable in its own right. This hunger and passion reminded me that I have work to do — that we all have work to do — and that we can do it through others.
I hear people complain constantly that they feel powerless, like slaves to a greedy, capitalist system. They feel trapped and burdened in a world that doesn't respect their civil liberties. I used to feel like that, too. I thought to myself that the world was corrupt and cold and that there was nothing else I could do but grin and bear it. Yesterday, however, I was reminded that that way of thinking is wrong.
There are people who feel just like me, who are upset with the state of our country and who are dedicating their time to cleaning it up. There are people who have a vision for the future and who are working to ensure that their vision is fulfilled.
Those people are the ones I voted for yesterday.
Perhaps they won't accomplish everything they pledged they would. Perhaps they don't care about anything they promoted in their campaign but there's also a chance that they do. There's a chance that they will make a difference that I so desperately hope to see... and on the off chance that it happens, I'll be glad to say that I helped support them and make it a reality.
So many people don't vote because they think it doesn't count; but here's the thing: whether you vote or not, someone will be elected and every time someone is, there are implications. So why not support someone who shares your vision? Why not take your vote and use it to help accomplish something you believe is important?
We all want to change the world, and there are many ways we can go about doing it. Whether you want to be an activist, or simply just spread kindness whenever you can, I encourage everyone to do their best to be the change they wish to see in the world. However, we shouldn't forget that we have a duty to help support others who want to do the same. And voting is one of the best ways we can do that.