Importance of Voting Co. 2

Quick Qs is dedicated to empowering, inspiring and sparking conversations.  

This week, we’re going political.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO VOTE?

 
 Photographer:  Salpy Talian

Photographer: Salpy Talian

Zarina Citali Guerrero
Blogger at Estilo Y Alma

My mother grew up in a country occupied by a military dictatorship. Political instability and populism after the second world war eventually lead to a US backed military coup d'etat, which proceeded to rule her homeland with an iron fist, resulting in the suppression of democracy and the torture of thousands of civilians. It was in this political climate, that my mother dreamed of democracy, left her family behind, and came to the US in order to give her children the chance of a better life. My mother's story is not uncommon, and many of us who are the children of immigrants know this story well, as foreign intervention throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and other parts of the world lead our parents to leave their homelands with the same dreams of democracy.

Our parents came to the US and quickly learned that our democracy isn't as for all as they might of hoped, and many of us are now growing up seeing the limitations of our system. Gerrymandering and disenfranchisement still continue to strip people of their vote, the electoral college continues to undermine the popular vote, and in 2016 we saw the Democratic National Party played politics to install their preferred candidate over that of the people. We continuously see elected officials who do not represent the best interest of their constituents, but instead choose to protect corporate interest. We are now continually threatened with rights being revoked - from DACA, to transgender protections, and now the 14th amendment. In this climate, how can we not be expected to loose all faith in the system and disengage?

When I look back at our country's history, both nationally and internationally, I am reminded that this system was not built for all of us. It was built to exclusively maintain the status quo for the elite. In many ways, the system is still working. But over the years, as people have organized, protested and demanded rights, the definition of "all men" has expanded to include some of us. Our collective power continues to threaten the elite, and so they react in ways designed to overwhelm, frighten and disengage us. It's not that your vote doesn't count, it's that systems are strategically designed to make you feel that way.

 Photographer:  Salpy Talian

Photographer: Salpy Talian

Now, as we near the upcoming midterm elections, we are once again reminded how much our vote matters, and how far the status quo is willing to go to convince you otherwise. So much rides on this election, so much rides on every election, because with every election comes the opportunity make our voices louder. Our participation is how we ensure that intimidation and disenfranchisement tactics will not work to disengage our communities. We may not always get the outcome we were hoping for, we may continue to see popular votes ignored by electoral systems, we may feel as though we wasted time and effort, but your vote goes beyond the tally, it is an act of defiance in the face of a democracy that would gladly revert to the days where only the wealthy were given the right.

In the 2016 presidential election, only an estimated 58% of eligible voters cast their ballots. How different would our current political climate be if the remaining 42% had participated? Might we see the current threats to our democracy? The fascism that has been spreading throughout the world? The appointment of two Supreme Court judges - one of whom accused of sexual assault - who will serve for life?

If you are not interested in voting for your own rights, then do so for your friend who live in fear of their rights being taken away, or your  neighbor who's rights might have been stripped through disenfranchisement, or your parents who migrated to this country with dreams of democracy. Vote as an act of defiance against. Vote for the future generations who will inherit this Earth. Just vote, because we have worked too much and fought too hard to be given this opportunity, we better not waste it.


Casha Doemland