I voted today. I’ve voted before, but only by absentee ballot. Today was the first time I’ve ever voted in a polling place by my home.
I vote because I like being involved. I listen to NPR, read the newspaper, and make myself informed. Even when my candidate or position isn’t elected or approved, I still take great pride in voting.
I vote because 100 years ago, I would not have been allowed. Simply by virtue of being a woman, I would not have been allowed to vote (or considered a full citizen, really).
I vote because I’ve been in the home of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi. I stood in the driveway where he was assassinated, saw what’s left of his blood stained onto the concrete, heard the story of how his wife watched him die then fought for three decades for justice. I learned how Medgar Evers fought so that African-Americans in the Deep South could exercise their Constitutional right to vote. He was killed because of that fight.
I vote because I’ve met Medgar Evers brother, Mr. Charles Evers. I listened to a man (who has personal photos with every recent president, knows personal stories about the Kennedys, and refers to conversations with President George W. Bush as “When I was talking to George”) talk about the importance of voting, being involved in what’s going on in America. He knows. His brother was murdered, assassinated for the right to vote.
I vote because I’ve stood just steps from where Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated. He was murdered because of his fight for the rights of others, including the right to vote. I’ve learned the history of the movement for which he is the face at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorriane Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve seen through pictures, movies, and stories how he and others sacrificed to bring civil rights to all Americans.
I vote because when half of America doesn’t get their way tonight, no one will riot or turn to extreme violence to try to get their way back.
I vote because I have had so many opportunities to learn about America’s history. Through reading books, traveling around the country, meeting people, and hearing stories, I have learned the importance of voting.
I vote because the sacrifices of others made it possible for me and for others to exercise our right to vote, peacefully.
I vote because I want to keep it that way.
I vote because as a young white woman in the Midwest, no one will question my right to vote. I want to use my votes, my knowledge to do everything in my power to ensure others have that same privilege.
I vote because I cannot remain silent.
I vote because that gives me power.