Why voting matters

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008 will forever be remembered as the day America decided “Yes We Can” make a change in this country.

Barack Obama, the 47-year-old junior United States Senator from Illinois, will be officially sworn in as President on Jan. 20, 2009. I plan to be there because I wouldn’t miss witnessing history for anything.

I want to be able to tell my yet-to-be-had children’s children that I saw a Black man place his hand on the Bible and say the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I cast my vote for President-elect Obama on Oct. 25. I really wanted to vote on Nov. 4, but I was flying back from Washington D.C., and didn’t want to chance not making it back in time.

I would have been sick to my stomach had I not been able to vote.

I’ve always believed that voting is a right and everyone should take advantage of the opportunity. Whether it’s for president or a bond measure, I always take time to vote.

As I cast my ballot that sunny Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t help but reflect on what my ancestors endured in order for me to walk into the Alameda County Court House and cast my vote for Barack Obama. For Black people, the right to vote has been a hard-won battle; my parent’s generation marched long and fought fiercely so that when a day like Nov. 4th came, I would be able to exercise my right to vote.

I often think about those who were bitten by dogs and hit with water from fire hoses; my heart aches knowing some paid the ultimate sacrifice just so a race of people could have a better life.

They stood up to fear and hatred, knowing in the end, the struggle would reap benefits for generations to come.

Even though the candidate I voted for won, I’m disappointed in California for passing Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that changes the California Constitution to ban gay marriage. It’s even more disappointing to know the majority of Blacks in the state voted for Prop. 8 – even while casting their vote for Obama who publicly backed the “No on Prop. 8” effort.

I voted against this measure because I believe when you discriminate against one group, it hurts us all.

Despite my disappointment, I’m proud that I partook in the voting process. I know that, no matter the outcome, my vote does matter.


One thought on “Why voting matters

  1. I have to admit, my disappointment over proposition 8 was enormous. The taking away of legal rights is a slippery slope. If you don’t stand up for others, there will be no one to stand up for you when they come. Ask the Jews.

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