Ignorance is bliss. I am struggling to find the bliss in voting for people who will have control over major aspects of my life without even knowing what they stand for. I hope you all have familiarity with our voting rights timeline. We can never forget how some of us could not vote solely because of our color or gender! People put their lives on the line to give more of us this constitutional right. Women and people of color were stripped of this power giving us input in our leadership and policy. It boils my water to know that people who have zero
cares to give think their vote makes absolutely no difference. To be fair, I was one of those people. Honestly, I have not taken advantage of this right; it’s fair to say I even abuse it. I am on this Earth to evolve though! I want to make our ancestors proud and show them they did not fight for anything! I choose to commit to politics to make sure my voice is heard. I challenge anyone else struggling to utilize their role in politics to hop on board.
As an adolescent, I remember telling anyone who cared enough to ask that I did not want to vote. I simply felt like it would not matter because the people in office had all the control. Some democracy huh? Then I started to get some sense, and my perspective shifted. As a teenager, I decided I would only vote if I knew what I was voting for. I failed to honor that desire as I did what many do but few admit. I started voting for the democratic party because it seemed obvious that’s who cares the most about black people. YIKES, this is definitely not my proudest confession. However, I do take pride in my journey as a young, black voter.
(***To be clear, this does not mean I will become a Republican. This is not to express my political opinions. I am strictly encouraging people to educate themselves.***)
In 2012, the presidential election was the topic of everyone’s conversation at Ohio University. I was fresh meat on campus trying to find my niche. I was desperate to vote for someone with brown skin like mine. I wanted to be a part of history. I dreamed of telling my future children that I got to vote for this man! Unfortunately, that dream didn’t go far, because I did not turn eighteen until the following month! Devastated, I watched from the sidelines as the team all my loved ones rooted for crashed through the finish line for the W!
Fast forward to 2016, and I became voting age! The media was saturated with election information. I skimmed it like fine print; I already knew who I had to vote for! Naively, I did not even vote in the primaries! I had no clue about the primaries until it was too late! You could probably smell the pungent scent of ignorance as I walked down the street. I only ever heard of one voting day, and that was the day I always got to miss school growing up. The first Tuesday of November. Until 2016, this day meant absolutely nothing to me except a free day! I saw a post on extremely not-so credible social media that illustrated a chart organizing the views of the Democratic, Republican, and Independent candidates. According to this non-validated post, I felt like my views were most aligned with a candidate that I had not even heard about. I was torn between the candidate I agree the most with (based off of Instagram) and the candidate who is more likely to beat the candidate I loathed. Hey, I made my vote count by voting for the candidate more likely to win. I wanted my voice to be heard. I guess that’s really what politics is about… being heard.
In 2018, when I asked myself what is my purpose, the answer in my heart is social activism. There are basic human rights that are still being violated TO THIS DAY! I am confident I have the leadership qualities to make some necessary changes. Not only for myself, but for my peers and especially my daughter. How will I be able to refer to myself as a social activist, when I am completely in the dark about the turmoil in our government? Sounds like hypocrisy, to be honest. I won’t be perfect, and I definitely will not always have the facts straight. I will, however, make a genuine effort to fight for injustice. I had never really paid attention to mid-term elections before. With all the celebrities on social media encouraging young people to vote, I knew I had to cast my ballot. I am ashamed to say that if it were not for a Michelle Obama text, I still probably would not have voted. Basically, I would have just been too lazy. In all actuality, the voting process was easier than going grocery shopping. I was in and out! Only problem was I forgot to do any research. I literally voted for one party and if there was not a party under a name I skipped it. I briefly read over the issues and tried to bubble in what looked best. I might as well have voted blindfolded.
I am sharing this transparency with readers, because I know I am not alone. In my experience, my friends are just as ignorant as me. It appears that too many of us only have that basic government knowledge from grade school (three branches and their components) and what social media feeds us. I am challenging everyone to join me in correcting this dangerous behavior.
Some responsibilities have to be enforced on our own. I am going to start attending more meetings at city hall and writing letters to my councilmen (including women)!!! I am going to start paying more attention to the news. I will listen to debates and speeches. I will use other online sources because Instagram and Twitter not cutting it! (We are not even going to dive into what is being said on the news about the Russian’s influence on social media!) Click here for a link to Essence’s 10 Best Voting Tools for Millennials. I don’t plan on shoving it down my friend’s throats, but I will be starting healthy debates to spread this information. I will also participate in every single election (not just presidential) with prior research on the candidates and issues. Now that it’s out here, I have no choice but to hold myself accountable!
If you have any other suggestions or comments in general, feel free to leave them and expect no judgment!
Love and Light,