Friday, November 2, 2012

Why I Vote

graphic courtesy of Sarah Stevenson

I'm not unfamiliar with the vantage point of a soap box. I feel comfortable up here, and I think it's important to speak out once in awhile. I blame my parents. They turned me into a reader, which turned me on to ideas that were sometimes different from the ones I heard in home or school or church or ideas that challenged me to think about my own beliefs in different ways. Thanks Mom and Dad! :-D Books, and my folks, also taught me that I should do what I can to change a situation I don't like or don't agree with. Books, and my folks, taught me that words have power, although my dad also taught me that guns have power (not in a creepy or bad way -- he was a Marine and I'm proud of his service), but I want to do things a little differently. Anyway, that's why you get my ranty rants here mixed in among book reviews. And thanks to some of my co-bloggers, I've decided to write a little post about why I vote. I'm going to try to steer clear of stumping for any candidate or ballot measure in particular, though you will doubtless be able to guess my leanings by the end of the post, if you haven't already discerned them from previous posts. Actually, I'm just going to say what I want to do and trust that any readers of voting age will look at all sides and decide for themselves.


I'm a blue girl in the one of the reddest states in the union.

As far back as I can remember, Idaho's four electoral votes have gone to the Republican presidential candidate, and I used to think that since I can't imagine our votes ever going to a Democratic candidate, why bother? I think this is the view of a lot of people, because the presidential debate is what we see and hear about for MONTHS. We can be somewhat excused for believing this to be the only important reason to vote. But this year, like no other year before, I know that is the wrong way to think. Yes, the electoral votes are important, but because of some super effed up math and antiquated voting rules, the president is elected by Ohio and a few counties in Florida (no pressure, Ohio-ans and Floridians).

But in reality, the president doesn't make as big an impact on my life as some of the measures on our state and local ballots (hello Prop 8 in California!). This year, there are three very controversial propositions relating to education on Idaho's ballot. I was a teacher for a few years, and I kinda wanted to stay a teacher, but then the recession hit and I couldn't find a job and so I moved on to other options, but I'm still intensely interested in and committed to good education practices. I believe, based on my classroom experiences and my time studying education and literacy and testing policy in college, that the three propositions would be ABSOLUTELY DISASTROUS for Idaho's students and that, if passed, they would set incredibly damaging precedents for our country, especially as our state superintendent has the ear of Romney on education. I have done everything in my power as a citizen to put a stop to these, which include signing petitions, taking part in protests and voting. Sometimes, it's discouraging. Sometimes, I want to punch the superintendent in the throat when I see him at my local coffee shop, but violence isn't the answer. Votes are.

Another incredibly discouraging and sad and stupid turn in our country's discourse is the discourse surrounding women's bodies and women's health. Tina Fey said it better than I ever could when she called out the "gray-faced men" defining rape. Seriously. The stroppy email I got from an author who didn't like my review of his book, in which I talked about how his depiction of young girls' bodies creeped me out (because there is a HUGE difference between drawing an 11 year old and an almost 13 year old [aka 12 year old] with a big rack) is another indicator that true and honest discourse has gone south. This, among MANY other things, has helped me decide who I'm voting for in our state senate race.

Those are the two biggest issues taking me to the polls -- education and women's rights. I hope that, whatever your place on the political spectrum, you'll take your opportunity to let me know with your vote. And if you need more reasons, I encourage you to watch this video by Vlogbrother Hank Green. It's a pretty positive look at voting, and positivity is hard to come by this close to the election.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! Great post. And I'm sharing that video on Facebook.