Twenty-sixteen was the first year that I was old enough to vote in a US presidential election, and I didn’t vote. I was living at college an hour away from home and my polling location. I hadn’t paid close enough attention to the deadline to request an absentee ballot, and I don’t think I even checked to be sure I was still registered. (I believe I was registered as a Republican at the time because I thought I was supposed to be, not like I knew what that meant.) Like many people, I didn’t like either of the candidates. I didn’t have much motivation to choose, and I didn’t understand why voting third party is ineffective.
Whenever I would be reminded to vote, all I would feel was guilt but not motivation to actually do something about it. I would have had to convince my boyfriend to drive me to the town where we lived, and the entire ordeal would have taken upwards of three hours out of our day with driving alone. I probably had musical rehearsal, or band rehearsal, or homework, or all three. The last four years have taught me that whatever it was that I was doing, there is no question that it was not as important as voting.
I would be the obvious one to blame in this situation, but you also could have blamed my boyfriend for not driving me, Grove City College for planning so many events and activities on Election Day, and you could have blamed the people around me for not doing their absolute best to make sure that I knew everything I had to do and that I knew why, even though I didn’t want to, I would have had to vote for Hillary Clinton to save the country from the impending doom.
This year, I refused to make the same mistake again. It would have been much harder to avoid, given that I saw so much more encouragement from everyone around me telling me to vote, from nearly every YouTuber I follow, to my news sources, my friends, my workplace, and more. But I knew we needed more than that to get everyone to vote. I didn’t want anyone to be like I had been.
Needless to say, this year I tried my hardest to make sure that everyone I knew was voting and they knew why they had to… especially since most people I know live in Pennsylvania.
Twenty-twenty was the year that I decided that if I’m proud of something I do, then I don’t hide it, and if I’m not proud of it then I leave it behind. I’m not going to lie: even though voting by mail here in Pittsburgh was incredibly easy, I’m SO proud of myself and of my husband. I wish so badly that I could show this outcome to our 2016 selves and say, “See? Do you realize that your vote holds so much power and that each of us has the power to change an election?”
I’m proud that I voted for President-elect Joe Biden and (even more-so) Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I’m proud of myself, of my state of Pennsylvania, and of the other 75,028,323+ Americans who also voted in the same way. I’m especially in awe of the Black women who led the way in mobilizing voters and make their voices heard.
We chose democracy, we chose equality, we chose peace, and we chose science. History will be proud of us.
8 thoughts on “History Had Its Eyes on Us”
I know that this is the first election I’ve ever felt genuinely worried to the extent of becoming depressed and anxious. COVID is a major player in the 2020 craziness, but going into the election, the intensity was greater than anything I can remember. What was driving me to distraction wasn’t JUST Trump. It was his minions. Barr who kept wrecking the DOJ. Miller, who enjoyed imprisoning Hispanic children. Mnuchin, who hid the taxes. DeVoss, who hated public education. Pence, the evangelical zombie. And all the other sycophants. The Trump bunch were accruing power that I was sure would lead to an inevitable collapse of U. S. Democracy.
I think my first glimpse of real hope was a news podcast I watched maybe three or four months ago that discussed the power of the “twenty-somethings” vote. I called my nephew and niece, one twenty-two the other twenty-four, to remind them they had to vote, and their letting me know, they weren’t only voting, they were actively involved with their own peer groups to get votes out for the Biden/Harris ticket. There’s a lot of talk about the people of color and the urban woman vote, but I’m convinced it was the young folks who came out in droves, (Thank you Rebecca!) to make the difference.
They say Trump may run for president in 2024. but by then there will be millions more of young Americans who will be able to vote and prevent that monster from ever getting back in the White House. Of course, he might not run because he’ll be in prison, but hey, you never know. Also there’s 2022 when we can galvanize youth in a number of states to get rid of their Trumpist senators. The fight we are in now is ongoing.
But I am incredibly grateful to you and to your supportive husband. Thank you both.
I was honored to be a part of the movement! I also did my best to do text-banking with Greenpeace to encourage voting in swing states.
Thanks for voting!!! Thanks for helping put Biden and Harris in the WH! You’re right, EVERY vote matters!
Yes!! Now we have a lot more work to do!! 😁
We did well. Now, let’s get ourselves two more Senators. If Biden has to deal with Moscow Mitch, nothing can be achieved. Both Senate seats in Georgia are in a runoff. Visit the DSCC, checkbook in hand. Money drives politics.
Yes for sure!!! Non-Georgians have to help by donating!!
Hi Rebekah, you’re absolutely right. It’s a lesson we need to learn here in the UK for the next election, when we’ll get the chance to vote out our British Trump-clone Prime Minister. Incidentally, while I was routing for Joe Biden, it’s curious that a president elect who claims to be a president for all Americans should mark his victory by repeatedly invoking god. Comments such as ‘god bless you all’ are likely to alienate at least 40 million Americans at a stroke. I wish he (and others) would realise that if they really want to represent all Americans, they need to keep their religious beliefs in the private domain. Still, he’s got to be a big improvement on the stupid orange one.
I know. Nothing makes sense, and it shouldn’t be too much to ask! I guess we can’t get rid of all the Christian nationalism at once, only the worst of it.