Confession: I never used to vote. I used to be proud of it too. I had plenty of talking points for those poor voter registrars roaming main streets and community events about a broken system, slimy politicians, and what “real” change looks like as opposed to cosmetic change. To me, voting was as pointless as those suggestion boxes in fast food joints that people usually just stuff with trash anyways.
In retrospect, I think that behind my distrust and anger, more than anything I felt helpless and disenfranchised. I started to wonder if maybe my wholesale rejection of an entire system was an elaborate excuse to not do anything about the problems I saw in the world. I was making myself helpless, and withholding the most basic and powerful tool that had, my vote, wasn’t doing anything for me, or anyone else for that matter. If I could talk to that guy now, I would ask, “Do you find the circumstances of our world to your distaste? Then do something. Vote, advocate, volunteer, donate. I don’t care what it is, it’s your action, your cause, and your vision. But please, please do something, because the last thing the world needs is another person that has given up on it. P.S. ranting Facebook statuses don’t count. If you believe the world is fine and nothing is wrong, then maybe voting isn’t for you, but otherwise, get with it man!”
This election on November 6th alone holds the fate of so many important issues, and us with it, whether that means for the 35 million Americans who don’t have access to any health care and the people living with HIV/AIDS among them, the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, how Ohio redistricts, women’s rights, the expansion of Medicaid, and the funding of your state’s HIV/AIDS programs. Even if these things don’t directly affect you, I guarantee that they do affect people you know, people you love.
Voting is a challenge to make a decision that you think is best not just for you, but for the people you love and the world around you. It is a challenge to be wise enough to make informed decisions. It’s a challenge to have hope and to do something with it.
Community Engagement Coordinator
(This blog is a personal reflection, and is not a representation of the Ohio AIDS Coalition’s official position)
For more information, visit our Voter Briefs page. Value your Voice. Vote!