Because…

by Ayanna Albertson | October 30, 2020 2:37 pm

I Vote Because I Want To Be a Cause Beyond Myself

I wasn’t eligible to vote until the 2012 Presidential election. During that time, I was a freshman in college attending an out-of-state university and was instructed to cast my vote by mail in order to be counted in my home state. As time passed, I procrastinated and kept pushing it off. As the deadline for absentee voting drew near, I began to talk myself out of voting. I was confident the candidate I wanted to win would win, with or without my vote.

As the results were announced, I began to feel ashamed. Although the outcome was in favor of my candidate of choice, I saw the pride people had in knowing they participated. I saw the joy people had in making a difference. The excitement from being a part of something so monumental. I, however, could only share my excitement of wanting the same outcome. 

At that moment, I realized I was a part of a much bigger problem. I was in the number of people who didn’t care enough to make a difference not only for myself, but for others. It was an act of selfishness, negligence and insensitivity. I didn’t think about those who needed my vote for the betterment of their lives. I didn’t think about people in need of better healthcare, folks who were deserving of a livable wage, or those who desired better resources in their community. I only thought of myself, not even realizing that I, too, am affected. 

Now that I am older, a part of the working class, and more aware of how elections impact everything around me, I can’t imagine not using my power to vote. 

For one, I benefit from the Affordable Care Act. Without it, I wouldn’t have access to affordable or quality health care. Like millions of other Americans, I was left unemployed during the early months of the coronavirus crisis. Had it not been for legislation like the CARES Act, I wouldn’t have been able to make ends meet. These are the types of legislation we have power to control when we choose to vote. 

Since the 2012 Presidential Election, I vowed to participate in all elections nationally and locally. I vote because I want to be a cause beyond myself. I want to show that I care about my community and the people in it. I want to be able to celebrate when my candidates of choice win, while also knowing that even if they don’t succeed, I did my part. I vote not only for today, but for the future. For myself and for others. I have learned that voting is about selflessness, compassion and community and I never want to miss an opportunity to be a changemaker ever again.

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