VOTE.

[DISCLAIMER: The thoughts in the following article are the thoughts of the writer ALONE, and are not the thoughts of The Daily Geekette as a whole. Except for the “Go Out And Vote” sentiment. Y’all should vote.]

Okay. I’m taking a break from my NaNoWriMo novel to write about something a bit more pressing: the 2016 presidential election. It’s November 8th — election day — and I waited for forty-five minutes to vote this morning — the longest I have ever waited to vote. Line control was atrocious — if I didn’t have to immediately run out the door to get to work, I would have stayed and helped make a better system. But I digress — no number of lines is going to keep me from performing my right to vote.

I’m horrified. In the past few months, I have been ashamed of our country — of the bigotry, sexism, racism, anti-semitism, anti-Muslim, anti ‘other’ that has become socially acceptable due to one man condoning it. One man who has stood up and said that he is the best at doing everything. One man who wants to bring back the “pride of America” in making our country a manufacturing country again for the people who are stuck in the past and don’t want to look forward. There’s this conception of how much better life was when it was simpler, when there wasn’t crazy amounts of technology, and that we should go back to that time, in complete disregard for the fact that technology does exist and we can’t pretend it doesn’t in order to give people who worked in coal mines back their jobs in those now depleted sites.

I don’t have readily available statistics at my fingertips, but what I do have are my feelings. I am a white woman; I acknowledge I have rights that many others don’t. But that does not by any means diminish the fact that I am terrified of walking in the dark alone for fear of getting raped. That I don’t listen to music through headphones if it’s after dark and I’m alone outside, or even inside. That I have panic attacks when I see a woman in a film or television show about to be raped or assaulted.

But what I was not afraid to do was drive to my voting center and vote for a president who would not make those fears worse. Is Hillary Clinton perfect? No. Did I vote for her in the primaries as a Democrat? No, I voted for Bernie Sanders. But here’s what I will say about the candidates that I have noticed: We call Bernie Sanders “Bernie” because we see him as a friend, someone who we connect with, are familiar with. We call Donald Trump “Trump” to mock him, and because that is the label he has created for himself. But we call Hillary Clinton “Hillary” or “Senator Clinton” because regardless of how we feel about her politically, we respect her.

There are people out there who are scared to vote. That is unacceptable. Everyone (say it louder for the people in the back), EVERYONE has the right to vote. I don’t care if you’re voting for Trump, Clinton, a third party candidate for president, you have an obligation to vote. While I might not agree with whom you vote for, as long as you can express why you wish to vote for your candidate, and are open to having a discussion, I will not judge you. I will listen, give you my piece, listen to your response. My cousin is out driving people to the polls who are too scared to go alone. His son welcomed a refugee girl in his kindergarten class who did not speak any English, and made her feel at home. I have never been more proud of my family (even if it was my cousin who came up with the name for this wonderful website).

Your vote matters. Even if you think it doesn’t, it truly does. If you’re not going to vote because you don’t like the candidates, there are other things on the ballot. In Massachusetts, we have state-wise questions to vote for. All across the country, we are voting for Senators and Representatives. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Congress is just as, if not more, important than President.

So get out there. Adopt an eagle. Throw a BBQ. Watch the world series again. and VOTE.

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