Today is a voting day where I live. I voted. I hadn’t planned on it at first for a variety of reasons. I gave in eventually.
The mixed feelings overwhelmed me. I didn’t like the voter evangelism I saw flooding my Facebook page. It’s a very important act. It’s sacred. And it’s personal. Don’t tell me to do it. Sometimes I think the folks who hate fundamentalism the most are the most intense fundamentalists. Vote or go to hell. That’s how it felt to me if I’m being honest.
Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the message. Voting is a privilege and a vital part of our system. And it’s a way for us to actively make our mark felt on society. It gives each of us a voice (if we’ll but speak up). And it also gives us the chance to speak up on behalf of justice and the voices not often heard. But the process of voting, where one has to vote, the shame accompanied by voting in certain places and standing in particular lines (alone), and on and on are reasons, crucial reasons, a lot of folks don’t vote or mess with it. Feeling the additional pressure from voting evangelists only complicates and adds to the stress of these personal, difficult decisions.
I want to be inspired to vote. Don’t tell me to vote. Tell me why you voted. That’s what ultimately convinced me to not throw away an important chance to speak up. People vote because they have a voice, it’s their power, and they feel like they’re doing what they can to shape the future world they’re going to inhabit. To me, that’s powerful, that’s inspiring and a reason to drive well out of the way to join the thousands of others making their mark on the trajectory of history.
Tell me to vote. I’ll stiffen my stubbornness.
Tell me why you voted. I’ll drive us both to the booth.