I am ashamed to say that it has taken me awhile to realize the importance and significance of voting. I haven’t always been an active participant. I voted in the presidential election in 2000 because I had just turned 18 four months prior. It was a big deal.
In the 2004 election, I was living in Florida and I was too lazy to complete the absentee ballot. I can’t believe I just admitted that out loud, but that’s the truth.
And as long as I’m clearing the air here, I didn’t even bother for non-presidential elections. Sigh.
In 2007, I was working in the marketing department of a large, well-respected law firm in town. One of our lawyers was running for governor and it was a big deal, of course. With all the promotion and general camaraderie at the firm, I became very interested in the election. I voted for him not only because he was an attorney where I worked, but because he was so genuine when talking with a peon like me. He won.
Though the experience ignited a sense of civic responsibility in me, I was still one of the naysayers convinced my vote didn’t count.
However, the 2008 presidential election coincided with the birth of my first child. He was due in mere weeks and the range of emotions I was feeling were magnified by the momentous election at hand.
I had a responsibility to my country and community, yes. It is a freedom that we enjoy in this country. It is a chance to honor history.
I had a responsibility to myself, yes. If I wanted a voice, I better have voted.
All those were pale in comparison to the responsibility I felt toward my unborn son. It would be my job to teach him right from wrong and teach him to be a good person. What a hypocrite I would be if I didn’t take an extra 20 minutes out of my day to simply vote.
I marched my 9 month pregnant self to the polls and voted. The worker standing at the door handed me an “I Voted” sticker and thanked me for ”voting for two.” I got chills. And I haven’t missed an election since.
Today, we got ourselves dressed and headed to the polls. With my little boy and baby girl in tow, I proudly fulfilled my responsibility to vote. I got to explain what I was doing and have some cute conversation with the boy. And we all wore our stickers out proudly!
Life happens when you take the time to honor your civic duty! Have you voted today?
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