Now that I'm a young, vibrant, flourishing 30-something ( let's see if I can come up with more adjectives to make the 30's sound cool!) ..... a real go-getter, probably not a jet-setter... but that girl, that normal, every-day kinda girl, trying to live a purposeful life, making educated choices, minding my tongue, seeking wisdom and thriving on those little things in life that bring me joy . . . I have also acquired an appreciation for so many things which I used to take for granted. The one on my mind today.......
It's that little thing all Americans feel entitled to as soon as they're 18. Some anticipate casting their first ballot incessantly, while others glide into their middle ages never even bothering to register. As for me, I registered when I turned 18, and although I mostly turn a blind eye to local politics, I always vote for the presidency.
I know my measly little vote out of all the millions will have little impact.... however, if everyone decided their 1 little vote didn't matter, then the masses would cease to vote, and each little vote would have a much larger impact....... which in the end, it turns out, is quite scary.
So, I do my part, and cast my ballot. Even though I try to diligently follow the campaigns, I generally cast my vote, go on about my day and then relish in the fact that I won't have to watch any more political commercials. Great. It's over, end of story... at least for 4 more years.
...... but something was different this year. Since it's my first year in the Chi, and I already leave the house for work at 6:45am, I opted to do an absentee ballot. I didn't foresee a joyful morning at the polls with the rest of Chicago.
So, I received my ballot in the mail a few weeks past, calculated my decisions and put the pen to the paper. It wasn't so much choosing my candidate on the ballot, but delivering that ballot to the post box was the powerful moment.
I did so on my lunch break, so it's a short walk down the block, upon which time, without any forethought whatsoever.... I began to think of the power I wielded in that very moment. Not in an egotistical sorta way, but in a way that validated all of the work women did to fight for our rights during the last century. I began reminiscing stories I'd learned in history class of activists taking a stand, demanding women be considered equal and given the opportunity to vote. . . I began to clench my ballot tighter & thought of the women in this world who still don't have that luxury. Women in the Middle East are fighting for the right to drive, let alone vote! Others, over the past few years have been showcased in news clips with pride across their face as the struggle and strife they endured to garner the right to vote has finally been granted. .......... My mind was racing, my heart starting to pound and emotion coming over me, as I realized how very Blessed I am that I live in a country, where it's not even a question. It's such a simple right that we do take it for granted and we do feel entitled....... As I was swarming with feelings of pride, anger, joy, frustration, responsibility and duty I looked up to discover I was approaching the flag pole that stands about 20 feet prior to the post box ...... my eyes slowly followed the pole higher and higher.....& higher.. .. only to find .... it was empty.
Nevertheless, in my mind, the bountiful flag's red, white and blue was billowing in the wind and flapping proudly at the justices and opportunities that it stands for. I dropped my ballot in the post box, a ballot that would have merely equated to a large envelope any other day, but today it was a ticket. A ticket to freedom, to all those things we should be thankful for and to the hope that the same justices are spread throughout the world.
In that moment of clarity, I found a new appreciation for my rights and my claim as a U.S. citizen. Whatever your political beliefs, if you've been granted the privilege, get off your bum & go vote on November 6th!