Our voting process is intimidating. I have 3 degrees and those amendments get me every time. The amount of research I have to do in order to choose my candidates is significant. Having to weed through what is true, voting records, and speeches of all the local elections, as well as the national ones, can be a monumental amount of time. However, I do it. I show up.
Showing up is a form of self-care. To take care of my mental health, I show up to my therapist. To take care of my physical health, I show up to exercise class. To take care of my relationships, I show up for conversations. Showing up takes many forms. I believe voting is one of them, but it takes determination, boldness, and confidence to do so.
Marginalized people do not always have confidence and boldness. They have been made to feel unimportant. They have been put down for a lifetime. The intimidation of the process has squelched their motivation. The difficulty to figure it all out, especially if English isn’t your first language, makes showing up difficult at best. It is a travesty to live in a country by the people and for the people in which so many people groups feel less than. The promise of liberty and justice for all should include all. It is the foundation on which our country is built.
Encouraging others to show up for themselves is surprisingly difficult. There is voter suppression, even if not everyone believes in it. There are transportation issues for many. There is unfamiliarity with the process. There are lines. We all deal with these things, but for many citizens they are obstacles to exercising their rights. It isn’t as easy to vote if don’t have a car. It isn’t as easy if you work 12-hour days. When we discount the difficulty, we are adding to the problem.
I want to encourage all people to show up for themselves. To ask for a ride. To be bold and ask the boss for time to go to the polls. To go to the library where there are computers to do research. To seek out an interpreter to go with you. It is your right. Do not be intimidated by the process. Do not be intimidated by the words of others. We need you to hold America accountable to her promises to you…to all of us. We need your voice. We need your participation. We need you to show up.