1) Because of our grandmothers.
2) Because of our granddaughters.
It wasn’t that long ago in the history of our nation that it was illegal for women to vote. That fact boggles my mind. As a modern woman with so much privilege, I have trouble understanding the cultural mentality that insisted women were incapable of voting responsibly.
Of course, that mentality is not new. And it has not gone away. Our Founders engaged in heated debates about who should have the right to vote in the infant United States. It’s as if they feared regular people and found ways to limit the popular vote. These days, legislators in many of these not-always united states still debate. And they still seem to fear the people’s voice at the ballot box.
I have trouble understanding that mentality. And so did our grandmothers.
So many women fought so very hard under such difficult and dangerous circumstances. Too many women died in order to ensure that I have the right to vote today.
How can I not vote?!?!
And then there are my granddaughters and great granddaughters to consider.
After all we have been through, after all our grandmothers have done for us, our granddaughters’ rights to function as equal citizens in our nation are still not complete and their future is at risk.
How I vote this year in national, state and local elections will be one immensely important way that I can speak; that I may influence public policy that will affect the every day lives of our children for generations to come. Health care, poverty, the environment, employment equity, criminal justice, domestic violence, education… The list goes on and on.
How can I not vote?!?!
Whether I’m excited about a candidate’s personality or not, my challenge is to keep the big picture in mind and vote for the principles I believe in. To vote for the issues I care about. To vote.
In this current election cycle, we are watching voters across the political spectrum express frustration and discouragement, anger and hopelessness. We are hearing people say they just won’t vote at all. But I say #VoteAnyway.
Let’s all research the candidates’ positions on the issues we care about. Let’s all open our minds and challenge any stereotypes and prejudices we may have. Let’s all plow through the hopelessness and sow seeds of hope for our daughters and our granddaughters.
By the way, if you haven’t seen these movies on women in the suffragette movement, I highly recommend them. Iron Jawed Angels (2004) and Suffragette (2015). Talk about plowing though hopelessness! I hold on to hope because of so many amazing women who have gone before me. We stand on their shoulders. Now let’s shoulder the opportunity/responsibility/privilege to vote in this current election so that we can keep on harvesting hope for all our children.
In honor of my grandmother, Charlotte.
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She is national secretary for Coffee Party USA and contributes regularly to the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.