I love voting. There hasn't been a single election cycle that has passed when I don't think of Maya Angelou saying to a crowd of thousands in Lincoln, Nebraska twenty-three years ago, "Your debt has been paid. Now go. Do. And do it better." She was talking specifically to women, young African Americans, and anyone who had ever been marginalized. Through the hard work of their predecessors, these same people were allowed to rise. To Angelou, not honoring their hard work through thoughtful action was disgraceful.
I know people are frustrated with politicians. They are disillusioned, disappointed, tired, jaded, exasperated, fed up. Election night six years ago seemed so full of possibility. So many people from all sides saw a bright shining light of hope. It felt real and pure and unlike anything people in my generation had experienced. And then it came crashing down with the economy. The finger pointing and name calling started and everyone lost sight, more interested in being right than really working together.
And yet I have enough friends who have significantly different political viewpoints than me, but we are able to be friends. We can talk about important things that matter to us. And guess what? We are more alike than we are different. When I stay open and look for the common ground, these conversations do not become tense. On the contrary, they become some of the best and most real conversations I have ever had.
Which is why I will vote anyway choosing to believe politicians aren't all that different from me. I will believe they care, and I will believe this time can be better. Though it's often hard to determine which dictates, your actions or your beliefs because the two are intertwined, I will teach my kids the secret to staying true is acting upon your core beliefs while staying open to possibilities you can't quite see yet.
Voting is one action is that leaves little doubt. It says your voice matters because it does.
And how could anyone let Dr. Maya Angelou down? I'm not going to chance it.