There is only one thing that makes me crazier than hearing a woman say she is a Romney/Ryan supporter: It's when a woman says she may not vote. Actually, it makes me crazy when anyone tells me they may not vote. Just ask the Greek on the corner of Broadway and 62nd Street who owns the coffee cart where I buy my Christmas tree every year.
On Friday morning, when we were catching up on how we made it through Sandy, he interjected that he had a fight with his wife that morning. He told her he was so mad that there wasn't enough aid getting to his neighbors that he wasn't going to vote. She kept telling him he had to. I did the best I could, telling him she was right, reminding him that if Romney gets elected it, it wouldn't even be an issue to get angry about, because there would be no federal aid to get anywhere. Ever. There would be no FEMA. Romney would get rid of it. By the time I left him, I made him promise me that he would vote. He said yes, but refused to look me in the eye. So I'm not convinced he will. But I did start to worry about something other than Sandy and the destruction and upset she has left in her wake.
I started to worry about people voting. Which is unusual, because as a rule, I am not a worrier. I prefer to trust and turn things over to a power greater than myself. But when I do worry, I write. And today it is about why you should vote.
I can't profess to understand why any woman would cast a vote for a man who represents a party that does not support women's rights and one who changes his opinion more often than he changes those expensive shirts he wears. A man who reminds me of that charmer with a nice smile we've all fallen prey to at sometime in our lives. The one who will tell you anything you want to hear -- until he gets what he wants and then he is back to his old ways.
In the case of Romney, we can't be sure what those ways are, as he changes his views so often. But his party and his Vice Presidential running mate are clear that they do not support women's issues. They think they, as policy makers, should determine what a woman should do with her body. Forcibly. They think we should all do what their God says is moral and right, even if ours might be saying something different. They claim to believe in less government intervention, except when it comes to a women's body. They say they want job growth and a balanced budget, yet they made it their priority for the last four years to attempt to thwart President Obama from gaining a second term. They are the party of hypocrisy.
But to not vote at all? To not exercise our right as free citizens in a democratic society? That, to me, is the most immoral act of all.
- I will vote because I can. In 1912, just one hundred years ago, women were not allowed to vote, which meant my grandmothers did not have the option as young women. They would be angry with me not to.
- I will vote because I've been given a voice. I will use it. We all complain when we are not heard. A vote is our chance to exercise that voice.
- I will vote because my vote does count. And so does yours. And the next person and the next. Collectively, we make a difference.
- I will vote because apathy is not an attractive quality. Thinking my vote will not make a difference is a cop out. It does and it will.
- I will vote for all of our daughters, nieces, sisters and every generation to come. As the Dalai Lama has said, it is Western Women who will heal the world. That can't happen with people in power who want to set women back fifty years and suggest placing an aspirin between one's knees is an effective method of contraception.
If you are a woman or, as Nicholas Kristof stated so well in the New York Times, one of "the men who love them," you should be voting too.
If you live, like I do, in an area hit by Sandy, it may not be as easy to fit voting into your day. But that is not another excuse not to vote. It's another reason why it is so important.