I’m a 24-Year-Old Woman and Today I Voted in My First General Election

Politics has never been my thing. In the past I would tell myself that my vote didn’t count for anything, that one vote wouldn’t really make a difference. I didn’t think that choosing not to vote made me any less American, any less patriotic. I told myself that I could love this country without casting my choice for president.

When President Obama was sworn into office in 2009, I found myself wishing that I could’ve voted then. It was a historic election, one that excited the nation, and I wanted to be part of it. But I wasn’t eligible to vote then, and I felt as though I had missed out on a great opportunity.

This year, we have another historic election, for entirely different reasons. This year, I didn’t need to think twice about whether or not I would be voting. I knew, as most of us did, that this was a pivotal moment in American history. I knew that this year, it was no longer just about politics. There was much more at stake than a Democratic or Republican victory, and I knew that I had a responsibility—not as an American citizen, but as a human being—to go to the ballot and exercise my democratic right to vote.

Even for those of us who don’t like to get involved in the messy political discussions that dominate dinner conversations at this time of the year—even we recognize that we are playing an active role in the writing of American history. One day ten, twenty years from now, our children will read about this election in their history books, and they’ll ask us what we did. Who we voted for. If we made a difference. Even though we know it’s not as easy as separating one candidate from the other, that politics is a whole lot of gray and not so much black and white—we still need to make a choice. Whatever that choice may be, it’s crucial that we each get ourselves to the ballot.

In this election, we’re voting for more than president of the United States of America. We are voting for freedom, for the very foundations of liberty that this great nation is built upon. We should not have to be in this position, but we are. Our freedoms are being threatened by someone who could be our next commander-in-chief, our lives threatened by someone who calls himself a leader. We are a democratic republic and yet this is our reality in 2016.

We have a candidate who is running for the highest office in the land, someone who could very well lead the free world, and he wants to take away our right to exercise basic rights. Our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, our freedom to enter this country as immigrants—all these things could be taken away from us. Is it not our duty, then, our burden, to make sure that we do something to prevent that from happening? Our lives will be affected. Our families. Our children. Who else will defend them if we don’t? Who else will fight a fight that is ours to see through?

Go out and vote. Vote Democrat. Vote Green Party. Write in your own suggestion and vote for your mother. But vote.

It’s no longer just a right. It’s an obligation.

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“Remembering”

Like the drops of dew that

Have come to take residence

On her hollowed cheeks

The raindrops splattering

Over the umbrella of her

Broken thoughts

Sting.

They sting, and she does nothing

To wipe them away. Instead she

Clutches onto a hope

That the past will be wiped

From her mind,

With the salt of her memories

And the novelty of new pain

That comes in the deluge

From an equally unhappy sky

“Crazy Ones”

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Change Starts Small

Going for yet another new look, as part of the DP’s Zero to Hero January challenge list! I know I’m a bit late but it was kind of hard parting with my other theme, which was fairly new. This time I thought I’d try a more minimalist, writing-centered look. Change starts small!

“Another year, gone” (to quote Albus Dumbledore)

Time doesn’t measure itself. We turn for the breadth of a second and suddenly a new year is around the corner, our resolutions once again overlooked, our skeletons still in the proverbial closet. It’s hard to believe that winter is already rolling in fast, and we have scarecely had a chance to experience fall. I’m willing to guess that even the trees (which should be used to nature’s clockwork by now) have been taken by surprise. The gold and red and yellow tints of their leaves have faded to a depressing brown, and the squirrels are busy darting from tree to tree, collecting their acorn stash.

We can’t do anything to stop time, no matter how often we “turn back the clock” during Daylight Savings. Time is the elephant in the room everyone goes out of their way to avoid, in an effort to try and sneak out the door without waking the beast. Time is the factor than no one dares to factor in, the element working against us even when it seems as though it’s on our side. The catch, of course, is that there’s nothing we can do to outrun it. It’s constantly there, standing over our shoulders and breathing its seconds and minutes and hours down our necks. Mastering time means finding that thing, that one thing, that makes it worth the effort. If we find what it is that makes us happy, that puts us in our element, then time becomes an aspect of our lives that we forget—just as we forget about the nights of our childhood when we insisted that our mother stay with us until we fell asleep, or the way we used to sit with our grandfather and watch the sun set over the river, witnessing the melting of colors in a pool of translucent reflections.

Forgetting that time lingers forever over life’s shoulder doesn’t guarantee that we will put our best efforts into our work. In order to create the best possible version of our stories, our paintings, our sculptures, our research—whatever it may be that makes us feel like we have a purpose in this world—we need to follow in the footsteps of perseverance. No task is more difficult than convincing ourselves that we must keep pushing, keep writing, keep painting. Or, as Ron Carlson put it, in the case of the writer: “You have to stay in the room.” Leaving the keyboard, telling yourself that you’re just going to get another cup of coffee and be right back, is the easy (the coward’s) way out. Staying in front of that screen, typing away even when your fingers feel like they’re going to fall off–that takes discipline. Unconsciously, we feel that we’re fighting against a silent enemy, a formidable element that will try to crush our efforts. Without giving it a name, (because that would mean addressing its presence) we know that time is there, so we push through, and we write, and we paint, and we sculpt, and we research, not paying any attention to the clocks that read things like 3 am because time, after all, is irrelevant.