I've got laundry to do, so this post will be short, but I want to get my thoughts down on paper as this political season is drawing to a close...
As a born-and-raised Californian, yesterday was an important day in my history book. It was the day ~4.9 million people filled a little box in hopes of making a big difference-- and a big difference they did make. Setting record highs, the citizens of California spoke up. And while it is still too soon to know who will be our next president, and Lord knows I am frightened about the possibility of such a bigoted, misogynistic, racist fool wining the election, I am oddly at ease with the simple fact that so many showed up to vote.
But it can't stop there. We aren't done, yet.
My high school World History teacher used to HOUND us about going out to vote as soon as we could and I used to kind of write him off. I knew the jokers sitting to my left and right and I knew I didn't want them dictating the rules of the society that I live in. If they didn't want to vote, I didn't care. Why should I encourage someone to go blindly check boxes and potential elect someone awful? I thought it better to leave them be and have only the educated vote. I still kind of stand by that.
Now before you go calling me a bigot, misogynistic, fool myself-- hear me out. My perspective of what "educated" means has changed drastically. I don't know that I can say I learned $250K worth of knowledge at MIT that I couldn't have learned staying at home, reading Wikipedia, and taking some local community college classes. But being in the environment that I was for four years, taught more far more than any textbook or article ever could. Or the summer I spent working as a sous-chef at an Italian restaurant and building houses for Habitat for Humanity... I found myself getting educated in ways I never knew I needed to be educated. For this reason, I think my definition of "education" is much more fluid.
But back to my main point: If someone could manage to go through this life living in a vacuum, I would say "yes, better that they stay at home and not vote, should they desire to not vote." Worse yet, if you are a subordinate spouse/mindless idiot/or someone so unhealthily fixated on the thoughts of someone else that you would cast your vote simply because they said to, best you too not vote if you do not want to. But to everyone else, get the fuck out there and quit your complaining. You are a living member of society, you experience pain points and joys just as the rest of us do, and you have something to add at the polling station. Do a quick glance of who's running and the platforms they stand for. Recall the conversations you remember hearing at the grocery store/on the subway/at that party last night...
America sucks because of kids like me who thought laziness wasn't a big problem and didn't take it upon themselves to show why everyone has something to offer. America sucks because of stoners like my former classmates who think they don't have something to bring to the table because they didn't care and didn't watch CSPAN. America sucks because of a growing number of lethargic and jaded citizens who gave into the notion that because they don't want to vote, they somehow are excused from voting. Wake the hell up, friends. Things won't change unless we make them so.
So to all you "jokers" I went to high school with, sorry for thinking that my very rigid definition of education some how elevated the value of my vote. But also, get over yourselves and go vote. Change the game.