Stumbling out of bed with one eye open at 5:30 am in the morning to cast my vote at the polling station is not convenient, but I still smirk at my hope for a new President and a brighter future for America. My motivation to cast my vote is not only because I am a minority who knows voting is a privilege but that Election Day always has me feeling a bit sentimental about an American tradition some people take for granted. Several people over the past few months have complained to me about the state of our countries affairs but they have reluctantly decided not to vote in this presidential election. They have chosen not to vote for various reasons because; it is inconvenient to their schedule, they think the electoral college has the political system rigged to ignore the voice of the people, or because they do not like the choice of candidates, and some because they think their vote makes absolutely no difference in our political process.
Not only do I disagree, but I find these people to be lazy and quiet forgetful.
Forgetful of the sacrifices thousands of people have made so that we might have the privilege to vote, and the opportunity to choose our own President. Forgetful of the 11 million African men, women and children transported into slavery to labor over sugar, tobacco and cotton who had absolutely no civil liberties. Forgetful of the 1.4 million who were tortutured and died on the voyage, who could barely imagine or fathom such freedoms. Forgetful of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, whose maternal grandmother arrived from a slave ship in Africa and despite extreme circumstances brought hundreds of slaves to freedom to the North and the Canadian border in search for equality, both personal and political. Forgetful of Emmeline Pankhurst who first founded the Women's Social-Political Union in Britain; who spent 7 years of her life in and out of prison and solitary confinement because she fought to promote women's equality in public life and eventually obtained the right for women to vote over the age of 30. Forgetful of her fellow suffragists and suffragettes in Britain and America who where imprisoned, beaten, tortured, starved and force fed so that other women could cast a ballot. Forgetful of the Seneca Falls Convention when Elizabeth Stanton and Lucretia Mott made a seventy year committment and endured a life long struggle to secure the right to vote for women in America. Forgetful of Susan B. Anthony, who spent 45 years of her life giving speeches in the United States and Europe on women's suffrage for both Women and African Americans. Forgetful of of Lydia Taft, who despite harassment and physical threats against her, became the first legal woman voter in America in 1756. Forgetful that married women were once unable to vote because their political opinions were drowned out by the voice of their husbands ballot. Forgetful that National Women's Suffrage did not exist until 1920 with the creation of the Nineteenth Amendment by President Woodrow Wilson. Forgetful that we, minorities have had the privilege to vote for less than one hundred years. Forgetful of our neighbors in Mexico and Cuba and other immigrants from around the world that flee their home country to come live in a nation that supports Democracy. Forgetful of our sisters in Brunei and the Middle East; Saudia Arabia, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and the Vatican City even today do not have women's suffrage. Forgetful of those brave people who have protested, fought and given their lives over hundreds of years just so that we might have the ability and luxury to take voting for granted. Forgetful of the soldiers who have perished for our right to vote and continue to put their lives in harms way.
No, Voting is not convenient but neither is Freedom.
Today, I will cast my vote to remember and honor the sacrifices my ancestors made.
Today, I will cast my vote to remember and honor the sacrifices our soldiers make.
Today, I will cast my vote for other women and minorities whose political voice is drowned out by injustice and oppression.
Today, I will accept my responsibility to participate in our Democracy.
Today, I will make a stand.
Perhaps you should too.