Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Vote Like Your Future Depends On It

Written by Sarah Massey
Why should I vote? If I hear this question one more time, I think I am going to scream. Instead of loosing my mind, I’ll share why I believe you must, absolutely must vote this year.

The problem with telling people why they should vote is that it is the proverbial chicken and the egg problem. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice in picking candidates that represent you. If more of us voted, candidates and government in general would represent us better. We’d vote more if we had candidates that look and think like us.

Right now, the majority of people who vote in the US are old, rich, and Caucasian. The candidates are mostly men. What would our elected representatives look like if women, especially young women, voted more? Hopefully, we’d have more candidates like Tammy Baldwin, who, by the way, is poised to be the first lesbian in the Senate. Fingers crossed. She’s dynamic, a bit folksy in that Wisconsin way, funny, and did I mention that she is gay? (She’s my not-so-secret political crush.)

We need more Tammy Baldwins. But, to get more Tammys, we need to show that we use our voices. We have to vote.

This year, women’s issues are front and center in the presidential election. Some candidates want to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. Remember the time you went to Planned Parenthood to get the pill? Politicians want to take that away because they don’t want you to have reproductive freedom. While we’ve had the right to choose for decades, the next president will have the power to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice (or two). It’s in that court where challenges to Roe vs. Wade and the right to choose will be made. Politicians want to say good-bye to contraception and abortion in the United States.

In order to have candidates that look like us and think like us, like the lovely Tammy Baldwin, we have to vote. In order to protect our rights and keep picking up affordable family planning at Planned Parenthood, we need to vote. Right to choose is so 1973. I don’t want to worry about protecting that right. I want to focus on other things that really matter, like who am I going to marry. (Candidates have very different views on marriage equality.)

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for or how to vote. (Disclaimer: I work for a non-profit, non-partisan voting rights group, so I can’t tell you even if I wanted to.) I am telling you about the issues that matter to me as a woman and in my community. When I go to the polls this Election Day, I am voting on those issues and what the future will look like for me and the people who matter to me. Vote like your future depends on it. Because it actually does.


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