Ten reasons to vote

November 5, 2012

Shake off your election hangover, friends — we’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow! If you’re thinking of not going to the polls tomorrow, here are ten reasons I’d like you to consider.

  1. Because it matters. If you think it doesn’t matter to you, congratulations — you’re probably a privileged white, straight male! But even if you are privileged, you should still vote, because life is not just about you. Vote because your vote can have a positive impact on other people who need allies out there fighting for them.
  2. Because even if you think it doesn’t matter today, it will probably matter at some point in the next four years. Even if you are living the dream and no legislation can touch you, you have to accept that life can change quickly and dramatically through no fault of your own. We get and lose jobs, we move to different states, we become victims of crimes, we get sick…and how you vote will have an effect on what happens to you in moments like this. We plan for the future, we consider the worst, we learn self-defense, right? Well, voting is part of that preparedness.
  3. Because you aren’t just voting for the president. I’m so sick of hearing “I don’t like either candidate” as an excuse to not vote. Last time I checked, there weren’t just two candidates for one position on the ballot. Vote for your congressman or woman. Vote for City Council. Vote for the school board. Vote for the ballot provisions that are important in your city or state. Do a Google search for “sample ballot [your state]” and marvel at all the things you can vote for tomorrow.
  4. Because disliking your options is a bullshit excuse. I know a thing or two about disliking my options, you guys! I mean, every time I go to buy toothpaste, I get overwhelmed because there are just too many choices. There are like 30 types of Crest alone, and then each type comes in five different flavors and none of them seem that great and all their claims seem dubious and I just can’t deal. But you know what? I stay in the toothpaste aisle until I’ve chosen something. I don’t go home and whine about how I couldn’t choose one and think that will make Crest suddenly change their options. I’m going to pick one and hope that Crest is like, “Why is everyone choosing Colgate suddenly? What does Colgate have that we don’t have?” because at the end of the day, I still have to brush my teeth. And the way I see it, no matter what you think of the two main candidates for president, you still have to vote. No, it’s not a legal requirement…it’s just a fucking person requirement.
  5. Because you can. Voting is a right, and if you’re a woman or you’re African-American or you don’t own land, it’s a right that people fought really fucking hard to get for you. This is a gift you’ve been given, and it’s not some not-really-your-style sweater that your relative thought you’d like; it’s a nice gift and you should use it. Don’t be that ungrateful young person who doesn’t think that that struggle on your behalf matters. Don’t give older generations more reasons to tell us to get off their lawns. (Reason 5b: because if you vote, you can totally start telling young non-voting people to get off your lawn.)
  6. Because votes are being suppressed left and right. And while there are tons of people working their asses off right now to make sure that crucial votes aren’t suppressed (typically minority votes, BTW) you’re… suppressing your own vote? Um, yeah, that’s a dick move.
  7. Because you can own your choices, even if they turn out to be wrong. If you’re not voting because you don’t want to take responsibility for voting one candidate into office when that candidate later disappoints you, try again. We all pick the wrong team at some point in our lives. It’s OK. You’ll get over it. Everyone else will too.
  8. Because most of us do not, in fact, have anything better to be doing tomorrow. I firmly believe Election Day should be a national holiday so that hardworking Americans don’t have to choose between taking a shift at work or getting to the polls; the fact that some people do have to make that choice is outrageous. But I know that most of the people reading this blog are not making that choice (and if you aren’t voting for that reason, disregard this point or try your best to vote early today). I don’t care how long the lines are; it’s time well spent. And since when was “the lines are too long” a good excuse for anything? I don’t like sitting at the DMV but that doesn’t mean I can just drive with an expired license. I don’t like waiting at the grocery store, but I have to eat. And even if the lines are long and it is a waste of time, you know what? Most people waste time or don’t spend their time wisely pretty regularly. I know I do. I fuck around on the Internet, I watch “Cheer” on TV, I read stupid emails from Groupon. And that shit? Is shit that can wait. Email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all your favorite blogs will still be here tomorrow. That rerun of “Teen Mom” will still be here tomorrow. (And if it’s not, no big loss.)
  9. Because you want to be able to complain. Yes, I’m a believer in “if you don’t vote you don’t have a right to complain” and if everyone loses the right to complain, what will we do on Facebook and Twitter then? The Internet is for bitching and without everyone complaining, the Internet might cease to exist.
  10. Because it feels good. Seriously, every time I vote, I get such a spring in my step for the rest of the day. My “I voted!” sticker makes me feel even more smug than getting ashes on Ash Wedneday did back when I was in Catholic school. I just want to go back to second grade and tell my teacher, “Look! I’m a good neighbor!!” But seriously, voting feels good because it is good. It’s doing something. It’s attempting to make life a little better for yourself and for other people.

What’s motivating you to vote tomorrow? 

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