Why I am Going to Vote

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, then you’ll know this is a presidential election year. Although nominees for the respective parties have not been announced (to my knowledge), candidates have announced their bid and debates are on-going. Truthfully, there is not one person running for President of the United States that has piqued my interest.

Not. One.

I fear to live in a country run by Donald Trump. If I could detour for just a second. Please bear with me. If Donald Trump is elected president, then we will be the first nation to elect a reality television star as our nation’s leader. Think about that. Got it? Okay. Add the fact that he’s clearly shown his penchant for outright bigotry and racism, and it’s crystal clear why this guy should sit down. I haven’t been sold on any of the other candidates. As such, I really need to delve into each person’s platform. I need to be informed. Even with my uncertainty of the presidential bids, I know one thing with an absolute surety.

I am going to vote. And I’ll tell you why.

My great-great-grandfather was a slave. Yup, that American slavery I’m told was “sooo long ago. Get over it!” That slavery. Thus, he didn’t get to do anything but work. Nevermind having a voice to decide the presidency, he was just trying to say alive. My great-grandfather, Daddy Doug, was a log hauler in Lousiana with 13 kids running around. Daddy Doug lived to be 101 years old. Out of his 101 years, he was only able to legally vote nine times prior to his death. Let me clarify. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed when he was 64 years old. Thus, Daddy Doug was only eligible to vote 37 years. That’s less than half of his life. My grandfather told me he only knew of one or two people that voted in his little town of Chatham, LA. The voting process consisted of casting your paper vote in a ballot box.  It was assumed these one or two votes wouldn’t count because the people controlling the ballot box did not want blacks to vote.

That is why I’m going to vote.

I owe it to my ancestors. To my great-great-grandfather. To my great-grandfather. To my grandfather who instilled in me the importance of using a voice to create change. It is my privilege paid for by the blood of countless, nameless African-Americans who have died fighting for this right. I owe it to them. To let them know their death was not in vain.

I owe them.

I understand that every voter may not have a personal story behind why they vote. No matter, though, just get out and do it. Your voting right is just as important as mine. Too many people have fought, and died, for our democratic freedoms. How can we ignore their efforts? Their blood. As time goes on, I fear the importance of voting is lost on younger generations.We hear the phrase, “Use your voice!” The response is, “My vote doesn’t count anyway.” Oh, how wrong you are. Your voice can, and will, make a difference. If we only understood how powerful our collective voices are, then would we stop focusing on differences and ban together as one. Get up and make your voice heard. Get up and go vote.

I know I will.

[Image Credit Rolling Stone Getty]

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