Disillusioned? Vote anyway.

 

It was only after 11 years of being in the U.S. that I was able to vote, after finally getting my citizenship—a privilege, a right that comes with an impactful choice.

 

Even though I majored in Political Science in college—feeling like it was the closest thing that could help me understand why my family had to migrate to another country, what I could do to change feeling like an abomination as a queer and brown immigrant—there was a part of me that felt disempowered because I couldn’t vote.

And even though I was active in the community with grassroots organizations, there was a part of me that felt insufficient because I couldn’t go to the polls. I knew it was a privilege to have a green card, an even greater privilege to have the means and ability to become a citizen so when the time came that I was finally able to cough up the $700 in fees, I went for it.

I know voting is not necessarily the most revolutionary thing anyone can do, but when I first entered my precinct and filled out a ballot for the very first time in 2016, I walked out with a little pep in my step.

Until the results came in.

The past two years have been a whirlwind of political, social and quite frankly, of emotional extremes. From disbelief to anger, the ridiculousness of our political reality is too much most days to fathom. You could easily find me under a rock (or forever being distracted by other things), disillusioned. But I know nothing will really happen if I stay under that rock, foregoing a privilege that I’ve been lucky enough to acquire.

In a New York Times piece, writer Roxane Gay writes:

 
We are reaping what has been sown from voter disillusionment and we will continue doing so until enough people recognize what is truly at stake when they don’t vote. A representative democracy is flawed but it is the political system we must work within, at least for the time being. We have a responsibility to participate in this democracy, even when the politicians we vote for aren’t ideal or a perfect match. Voting isn’t dating. We are not promised perfect candidates. Voting requires pragmatism and critical thinking and empathy and now, more than ever, intelligent compromise.
 

I am 100% with Gay on this.

It’s not too late. Check your registration status. If you didn’t register, check to see if your state allows same-day registration and election. If you’re in California and missed the registration deadline, here’s everything you need to know to cast a ballot on November 6. A few more things: non-citizens can vote on the Board of Education, and former felons can also vote as long as they’re off parole.

Voter guides I trust:

So go ahead. Check everything you need to check. Make a plan for tomorrow—it’s not too late.

And even if you’re disillusioned just like me, vote anyway.