You Have To.
November 2, 2020
I’m going to the polls tomorrow.
I thought a lot about mailing in my vote, or voting early in-person. I am forever grateful to live in a country – even one marred by the Promethean scars of organized inequality – where I am able to do either. They are logical, sensible decisions to make in these fantastic and terrifying times, and the only decision for those of us that cant risk our health or give the time to do what we need to do tomorrow.
I went to vote with my mom all the time, and flip the switches of those glorious voting machines of the 80s and 90s. I thought the way that the curtain opened after you pulled the red lever to finalize your slate was the perfect marriage of presentation and technology. It was like telling everyone in the polling-place-that-is-also- your-school gym, “TA DA! DEMOCRACY!” She let me have fun in there, but she also explained, every time, that voting wasn’t something we got to do. We had to.
Because leaving home to go get chased by dogs and lashed by fire hoses wasn’t sensible. Calling out a system designed to silence you wasn’t logical. People gave up lives that could have been quiet, meaningful, and well lived – to rot in jails and hang from trees. We don’t know protest like those people knew protest. They went to war, with few weapons other than the resolve to say, “enough.”
To this day, my mom and I share our voting plans and chat about the issues. Every Election day, sometime after work, she calls me to ask if “I voted my mind.” I’m always happy to tell her yes.
I’m even happier to honor those who were braver than I’ll ever be.