“The line between freedom and fascism, love and hate, justice and injustice, is us. It has always been us.” – Janaya Future Khan
A common reason some will choose not to vote is because they will say their vote doesn’t matter anyway. That in the grand scheme of things, their one little vote means essentially nothing.
Another common one, which sounds similar but is of a different nature, is that they will not vote because they reject the system as a whole. That the whole political establishment is a mess, a disgrace, a lost cause.
Or they don’t like either candidate. They are both corrupt. Both filthy rich privileged out of touch with the average citizen.
And to all of this, I would say: Could be. It is true that there is corruption and disgraceful behavior. It is true money and politics are too deeply entrenched with one another. It is true neither candidate – this year especially – is the ideal representation of either party.
Also true at the exact same time (as 2020 has taught us so well to hold two difficult and opposing truths at once) is that “the system” we are talking about is democracy. Democracy is the system we’ve got. If we don’t want to keep it, what is the alternative?
Because throwing away your vote, and if enough people do it, is a good way to end the system. We are watching democracy crumble and fast, right before our very eyes. Is that really what we want? To let this shit burn to the ground because it isn’t working exactly or ideally the way we want it to?
We are in this now, like it or not. Difficult or not. Frightening, frustrating, disillusioning or not.
The only way to force democracy to work for us is to start by using our votes to choose what we want, one election at a time. You don’t get just one vote. Over your lifetime you get hundreds of votes in hundreds of elections, which is plenty enough to start steering the ship in our direction of choice.
If we want change, we have to do this from the inside out.
I was listening to Austin Channing Brown, a best selling author who speaks about racial justice, faith, and Black womanhood, and she suggested people who are struggling with whether or not to vote, or if their vote matters, to vote for the candidate who would do the most good for the most oppressed among us.
I understand feeling small. I understand feeling like your voice is just one among many – too many – to matter much at all. But we need to begin to open our minds to thinking beyond just ourselves, just voting for the candidate we as individuals like best, to looking at our society as a whole and where we want all of us to be in the long term.
If you have a better vision for this country, if you want us to get better, to get stronger, more compassionate, more free, you must vote in the direction of those things. Not because it “matters” in the grand scheme of things, but because it matters to you.
Does your vote matter…to you? Because in this election, we are holding the line between freedom and fascism, love and hate, justice and injustice.
Our democracy is broken. It is fragile and trembling, dangling by a thread.
But it is not beyond repair or beyond hope if we act now. Now, in fact, is all we have. Trump will do everything in his sadistic power to steal this election and ramrod this country into the throws of authoritarianism, he has shown us exactly who he is time and time again for years.
If you think your vote doesn’t matter now, try to affect the system in any meaningful way without having a vote at all. Without the right to protest. Without the right to speak truth to power without fear of violent retaliation.
I am voting Biden so I can look myself in the mirror on November 4th and the rest of my life knowing I did the very least I could to protect the people I love the most.
And the hard truth is? Just voting isn’t near enough, but it’s the only place to start.
P.S. Please follow me on Instagram @allisonmarieconway and share quotes of my work if any of this resonates with you. It is a quick, kind, effective way to express your views with those who love and trust you most. Thank you!
P.P.S. If this post resonates with you please share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and/or any other platforms where you think it will reach like minded people who need to feel more empowered and less alone as we approach November 3rd. Words that resonate should be shared so communities can be made stronger, held more precious, and made less afraid. Get Out The Vote for Biden/Harris 2020.
Photo by Roma Kaiuk