Anyone who has the misfortune of being friends with me on Facebook knows that I am an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders and have been since early 2015. I say misfortune because they’ve had to endure my gradual descent into posting madness as I became more and more involved in the elections.
The word politics scares the hell out of most people, and I don’t blame them. It can be hard to understand, it’s mentally exhausting, and it is also really uncomfortable to have conflict with others (especially when your family picks a public fight with you on Facebook every day). Honestly it’s much easier to stay out of it, and I used to do just that. I even used to say in a hipster tone of voice “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” like I was above it. (Embarrassing).
Here’s the thing though: it’s important. It’s extremely, very, incredibly, unbelievably important. Why? Because it directly affects your life, and if you don’t participate, you’re letting other people decide what happens to you, and what happens to your country.
The reason I supported Bernie Sanders so passionately was because he was the first politician I ever believed in. It’s easy to be jaded when everything sucks and you feel helpless, and a lot of the time, I do. But Bernie, and the other supporters I have met along the way (and I have met A LOT of them) have taught me that there are many people who feel the same way that I do, and that they are willing to fight alongside me to make a difference.
So one day in May I’m in the shower washing my hair, thinking about how cool it would be to be able to go to Philadelphia and attend the Democratic National Convention in July. Man, I wish I could go, I thought. And suddenly, another thought came: Why can’t I?
That day I started trying to recruit my friends to plan a road trip to Philadelphia. In the end I managed to get two girlfriends on board (and one girlfriend’s fiance). I was granted the days off work, we planned transportation, and even found a place to stay for FREE (ironically, with an older gentleman and Trump supporter named Fred who was the sweetest person and host).
Philadelphia was incredible. My friends and I joined the peaceful protest outside the AT&T center where the convention was taking place. We marched. We sang. We explored the city, met new people, and talked to everyone. Somehow I always ended up on the same train as convention delegates, and I frequently had animated dialogue with Clinton delegates.
Before I left, my mother told me she thought it was a mistake. She wanted me to spend my vacation days doing something fun or relaxing. But honestly, going to Philadelphia was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was so empowering to go and actually stand up for what I believe in, instead of just yammering on from my armchair behind a computer screen.
What I want for everyone, and particularly women, is to take an interest in the issues that are affecting our lives and our country. If you have questions, ask! If you don’t understand something, ask! Please believe me when I tell you that you give up your power to make change if you decide to sit on the bench. You don’t have to go to Philadelphia or Capitol Hill to make a difference. You can make a difference just by informing yourself and by voting. No matter who you support, your vote means something.
You CAN change the world, ladies. We can do it together. I don’t care who you support or what you believe in – just believe in something, and fight for it.
I said before that my Facebook friends suffered the misfortune of my posts, but to be honest with you, I get a lot of positive feedback. One of my closest friends told me that if it weren’t for my posts and my persistence in encouraging people to vote, that she would not have voted at all (she voted in the primary and in the mid-term election so far, and plans to also vote in the general election in November). That is the difference I have made. Even just one person, one vote. That matters. That’s everything to me.
The general election (the big one, folks) is Tuesday, November 8th. If you don’t know if you are registered, or where you are supposed to go to vote, it’s really easy to find out. You can Google it, or ask a friend for help.
Would you ever consider making a political pilgrimage like these vinas did? Tell us in the comments!