When I was 13 years old, I sat in a carpeted room in the New Jersey state capital and watched as a 32-inch television screen dictated policy. I watched as blue and red lines faltered up and down gaining on each other and slipping into oblivion. I watched as each senator entered their vote. Yes or No. A "yes" vote meant a vote for equality, for progress, for same sex marriage. A "no" vote meant there was still so far to go.
At 13 years old, I was naive and oblivious. Confident in the fact that those who had been elected to lead our state understood the simplicity of the issue at hand. I have two moms. They are two parents just like any other and they should have the right to get married. Plain and simple. To me, it seemed obvious, a given that the marriage equality bill would pass. But as I stared up at the screen I watched the blue line falter lower and lower beneath the red. The red bar gaining traction and confidence as each "no" vote propelled it higher.
The bill for marriage equality did not pass. I watched as the red bar secured its victory.
"FUCKING SINNERS." A woman of short stature, unassuming, unnoticeable tore off her navy "Garden State Equality" t-shirt revealing a "protect the sanctity of marriage" shirt underneath. She stood on the table, in a room designated as a safe space for those who were there to support same sex marriage, and her words ripped through the air with hatred and bigotry soaking every syllable.
She was escorted out.
Never in my life have I felt more helpless than sitting in that room at 13, that woman's words ringing in my ears, watching those red and blue bars compete for the win. I had to watch others vote, others determine our fate and decide our progress. I wanted nothing more than to vote "yes" myself, to push the blue bar over the edge.
Never before has this right to vote been more imperative. ... We have the opportunity to make history.
Voting is a privilege. It is an unbelievable, empowering privilege to be allowed the right to impact progress.
Never before has this right to vote been more imperative. In an election where we are quite literally determining the future of our nation, deciding whether to allow xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry and hatred run rampant, it has never been more important to exercise our right to vote. We can not let Donald Trump, a man who has promised to build a wall, ban an entire religion, a man who has mocked the disabled, claimed our current president was not born in America, funded a fake college, bragged about refusing to pay his federal taxes, been accused of sexual assault by no less than 11 woman, explained away these accusations by claiming the women were not attractive enough for him to assault, and been caught on camera bragging about "grabbing women by the pussy" become the president of the United States.
We have the opportunity to make history, to elect the first female president of the United States. Choosing not to vote, or voting third party is falling victim to the privilege of not being directly effected by the bigotry and hatred that will accompany a Trump presidency.
Do not be apathetic. Do not subject yourself to sitting in a room and watching red and blue bars trigger up and down with no ability to effect them. Go out and vote and take control yourself.