Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Rock the Vote
Did you vote? I really hope so. I really do, because whatever your views are, they do no good sitting alone in your head. Even if you think you HAVE no opinion on anything and think you don’t care about who wins because all politicians are basically evil, there IS an issue out there that affects you. And the least you can do is get educated and fill out a ballot to do your part. I know that a lot of my friends vote. Many of them are well-informed, intelligent people, and many don’t even share my opinions. But I’m so glad they take an active role in who is elected. It’s downright irresponsible to choose not to vote.
Personally, I know how important voting is. During my senior year of high school, I was elected as The Biggest Flirt in my grade. It was truly an honor to be granted such a prestigious award. I knew, looking out among my constituents, that I had a duty to perform from that moment on. I would work tirelessly to reassure my compatriots they had indeed voted for the right girl for the job. I would not let them down. Later in the year, I would also be elected as The Biggest Flirt in band, as well. And yes, I was the incumbent, though no race is ever a guaranteed win. It was a privilege to win not once, but twice. I was humbled by the overwhelming acknowledgment by my peers.
But I know the heartbreak, people. I know the pains of losing, or more accurately, never being elected. I was not captain of the soccer team, I wasn’t on a chair of my sorority, and as far as I know, I currently hold no public office. But the most devastating loss was in high school, that same year I bounded to the heights with my twin Flirt of the Year awards.
I thought I was a shoe-in for being on Homecoming Court. In my high school, the days before Homecoming Week consisted of the student body voting for the members of Court. Then, after the voting, and as a kick-off to the week, members of the elected court were woken up in the middle of the night, and shuffled off to their first exclusive Members-Only breakfast in pajamas. The rest of the week consists of these 18 or so girls and boys running the school from atop their golden high-horses, creating their own exclusive club of inside jokes and private parties. I wanted that so desperately. My boyfriend at the time ended up on Court, my best friends were on Court, and yet, I sat up that night, in adorable pajamas, hoping that they would come and pick me up and whisk me away to Perkins for chocolate chip pancakes. They did not. It was a crushing defeat. Or, rather, willful negligence.
I have known the highs and lows. I know the power of a name on a ballot, and of its absence as well. Sometimes all it comes down to is whether or not you like someone’s last name. It’s a clumsy popularity contest, full of empty promises (“I promise! I’ll be the best Homecoming Queen ever! And no more taxes on the middles class!”), and little side deals made with nerds and jocks and giant corporations with “special interests”.
So I get out there and cast my ballot, in the hopes that the person for whom I vote will not sit up in bed alone waiting for the party to come and sweep them into the glorious warmth of popularity and acceptance. And my expectation is that, if elected, they will do their job as I performed mine during my Reign of Flirting: With the respect, honor, and gratitude of those who put them there.