I voted today. In person. Wearing a mask. During a pandemic. Before I continue, this is not about names on a ballot or whether masks are necessary or not. These are currently hot button topics that most of us have opinions on. You are entitled to your personal opinions, and as a free thinking individual, you should have opinions. Unfortunately, conversations regarding these things often tend to get aggressive, and I have no desire to engage in them.
Voting is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The 15th amendment, as well as the 19th amendment, guarantees you the right to vote, regardless of your race, color, or gender. Voting in 2020 has been nothing short of interesting. Mail in ballots, in person voting, even talk of postponing elections has been a gigantic bone of contention across our nation. This is not really about that either. This is about my personal stance on voting.
In August of 1920, the 19th amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. It took 72 years for women to be granted the right to vote. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, Mary Garrett Hay, and dozens, if not hundreds of other women, worked tirelessly to earn women the right to vote. Women like Lucy Burns, Dorothy Day, Dora Lewis, Alice Cosu, were reportedly jailed and beaten for marching to demand their right to vote. Wives stood up and went against their husbands, and suffered at their hands. They created organizations like The League of Women Voters. They met in secret, and stood up in public. They marched, they stood in silence, they wrote, they spoke, they refused to give up. These women not only rocked the boat, they capsized that bitch. The right for women to vote was a long, hard, dangerous journey, and I have never once taken it for granted.
I hear people say things like, “I don’t bother to vote, because my voice is not heard.” “I don’t bother to vote, because it doesn’t matter.” “I don’t have a way to get there.” “My work schedule won’t allow me.” etc., etc., Excuses, all of them. There is a long list of volunteer agencies that can get you to your polling location. You can ask friends, neighbors, and family. You can vote early, just like I did today. Your employer is required by law to give you time off to vote. I have yet to miss a presidential election and I try REALLY hard to vote in every local election. I read my voters pamphlet. I look at the candidates and do background research. I take it about as seriously as one can. Why? Because 72 years of fight, deserves that.
2020 marks 100 years of women having the right to vote. The women mentioned above did not risk their lives and liberty, for us to sit idly by and let their fight go unrecognized. It’s not about whether or not you dislike the top two choices for the big seat, there are plenty of other options. There are local representatives on the ballot and possibly local legislation as well. Exercise your right. Flex your ‘feminism’, because that is exactly what this is, an act of feminism. A powerful one, too.
2020 has thrown a lot at us. It has been a year of struggle for many. It has made us angry, scared, uncertain, anxious, and about every other emotion you can list. It has brought out the best in some, and the worst in others. People are using the word ‘rights’ more than ever. We have an incredible number of inalienable rights in this country. I try to exercise as many of them as I can, as often as I can, because I can. I will unequivocally support others’ rights to do the same, even if I may not agree with the platform or the way they go about it. Exercising your rights is imperative! Not everyone in the world is afforded that luxury. There are places where women are still not considered equal to male citizens. We are lucky in comparison.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg said – “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” Regardless of how you feel about the late Justice, she was absolutely 100% correct with this one.
I voted today. In person. Wearing a mask. During a pandemic. I may not be Susan B. Anthony, but when my ballot was cast, and my name was called aloud, followed by ‘has voted’, I hope she heard it, loud and clear.