A long stretch of my voting adulthood was spent without being registered to vote. Just after my 18th birthday, I registered for the first time and was so proud that I was among citizens who could make a difference. I proudly went to the polls and cast my vote responsibly…knowing who all the candidates were and what they stood for. I took responsibility for my civic duty and felt very good about it…and then something happened. I can’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was something. I stopped voting.
Eventually I moved to another state and refused to register. Just under 20 years passed without a single vote from me. I gave no excuses. I just didn’t vote. Over time, I forgot why I stopped.
This year I registered again. I found a candidate that I believed in and decided to go full throttle in his direction. I got one vote in for him and he dropped out of the race. So, here I am, all registered and ready to vote in the presidential election and looking for a candidate to back. I’ve started reading up on what’s left of the candidates…what they’ve done, what they’ve promised…and I’ve discovered something. I’m expected to pick a box to crawl into and a tag to stamp on my forehead.
The “women’s vote”, the “black vote”, the “Hispanic vote”, Democrat, Republican, upper class, middle class, lower class…….What the hell is going on here?
First of all, I thought my vote was supposed to be secret! I have to choose to be either Democrat or Republican when I’m given a ballot but I’m neither. If I choose Democrat, everyone knows I’ll vote for Obama. Just give me a ballot with everybody on it and let me decide in the booth! I don’t care how long the ballot is or how long it takes me to sift through the names. Just give me the ability to vote for whoever I want!
Am I so shallow that I am automatically going to vote like every other working white female? Is there no room for me to care about the plight of a Hispanic male? I’m not gay or lesbian but their right to marry is important to me and could influence my vote. Am I grouped by that as well? If so, I’m on the opposite side of that issue from most of the people who surround my little plot inside the good ol’ Bible belt. How do they account for rogue voters like me? Am I just a “wild card?” There’s another label!
I guess the thing that gets to me most is the electoral votes. I understand the original reasoning behind this but get with the times people. There is so much corruption in this whole process that there is absolutely no way in hell that all those votes go where they are meant to go. Most of the popular votes don’t go where they should!
So, as I sit with my signature on my little voter registration card, I have a tough decision to make. Do I tear it up and refuse to talk about it or do I waste my time at the polls? I just want to be a voter! Just a plain old voter!