On August 18, 1920, the United States of American formally ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, (finally) granting women the right to vote. On November 8, 2016, by this principle, I will cast my vote for the presidential election. Like many of you, I am disheartened, and frankly, disillusioned by the thought of this year’s election. It seems as if every time I turn on the TV, I am reminded of another issue with our candidates. Let me just put out a friendly disclaimer that hey, I don’t care who you vote for, and no, the Get Out the Vote Campaign did not put me up to this. However, come November, I simply cannot bring myself to leave a vote uncast.
Many people will choose not to elect a president, but rather, to avoid the voting booth altogether. “My vote doesn’t matter anyways,” or “I don’t want to take the time out of my day. I can’t stand Trump or Hillary,” are commonplace arguments against voting. I myself considered this alternative option. I don’t have a resounding positive opinion of either candidate, nor do I feel like I agree with all of the opinions of one or the other. The next four years make perspiration form on my forehead, and I laugh along with others claiming that they’re going to hightail it to Australia. I have never been so concerned about an upcoming election. I can’t decide if the reason is that I am more informed now, or if this election truly is one for concern. Nevertheless, I fully intend on checking a name off on a ballot this coming fall.
As a history major with a concentration in gender in public and private life, I can’t ignore the shear history behind my impending vote. Whenever I entertain the thought of skipping out on Election Day, I remind myself of a certain convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. This convention for women’s suffrage proved so progressive for the time, and was organized by names that are now bolded on history book pages. Some of America’s first feminists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony, unfalteringly rallied for the right to vote. The crusade for women’s suffrage culminated with the 19th Amendment in 1920 after 70 years of advocating, lobbying government, and raising public awareness (History.com). After reflecting on the struggles of these women, how can I not cast a vote? It’s not to say that all women will agree with me, and I don’t expect them to. However, as I grow older, it is a reminder that I can no longer ignore.
Without promoting one candidate or the other, I encourage you to consider voting. It’s a right for every United States citizen, and it is one that I intend on utilizing. When you consider the struggles of those before us, such as the aforementioned feminist pioneers, it sheds light on the importance of considering our rights. As a true advocate for #girlpower, and a history geek, the two overlapping themes of feminism and history prove so pertinent in the up-in-coming election. Whether you’re an elephant, donkey or somewhere in between, don’t forget that your opinion matters.