Today is my third anniversary of becoming a US citizen. I’ve lived here much longer than that, of course; during the last 27 years I’ve seen some good changes for this country and some terrible ones. I won’t list them here because that’s not the point of this post. This post is about voting.
A country (state, county, city) gets the government its citizens vote for. What this means is that every citizen over the age of eighteen has not only the privilege of voting but, in my opinion, the obligation. It’s your job as a citizen to make sure decent and competent people occupy public offices, people who will write legislation that is fair, well-written, and transparent. In other words, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the polity you live is well run. It’s down to you.This means actually voting. Voting is not tweeting, or ranting on Facebook, or writing angry blog posts. It is not having arguments with friends and family or waving placards at passersby. Voting is completing and submitting a ballot, raising your hand or number at a caucus, or walking to the designated corner—whatever you do in your part of the country. It means getting off your arse and doing it not just talking about it.
Washington State’s Democratic Presidential precinct caucuses are scheduled for Saturday March 26th. As I have MS I qualify as having a disability which means I’m allowed to send in something called a Surrogate Affidavit. So I’ve already voted. It was a shit ton easier than turning up in person and listening to a lot of tedious discussion and uninformed opinion. (It’s one of the two benefits of having a seriously vile illness. The other? Cruising through the airport security line in a wheelchair. Not much to weigh against all the disadvantages of MS but, hey, I’ll take it.)
I voted for Hillary Clinton.
I have many reasons for this but the main one is that I think of all the candidates, from either side, she’d do the best job of being President. If I could have voted in 2008 I would have voted for her. She strikes me as someone who knows how to make things work—a skill for which this country is in dire need. Clinton has practise at maintaining poise under scrutiny; she has good relationships in the Senate and various governments across the globe; and she understands how to manage people and keep them on-side. Importantly—at least to me—she’s a policy wonk.
This will be my first vote in an American presidential election. I like to think I’m making an informed choice. But the point is that I am making a choice. If you’re a citizen so should you. We don’t have to agree on that choice but, hey, voting is a citizen’s superpower. Why not use it?