Today was my first day voting (at a polling location). I showered, got dressed, and didn’t forget to wear my enthusiasm, along with my American flag scarf. I was prepared for this milestone in my life. On the way to the temple that I was assigned to vote at, I couldn’t shake off the grin I had on my face; I was beyond excited to exercise my Constitutional right to vote.
My smile was wiped off of my face the moment I walked into the polling station.
It was like a ghost town. As soon as I walked out of the elevator, there was a woman guarding a table full of Dunkin’ Donuts boxes and coffee; about 3-4 feet in front of her was another table with two older women sitting there, doing crosswords and other puzzles to pass the time. And to top it off, at the opposite end of the room was a man sitting on a chair, slumped over, half asleep, in front of the ballot machine. Clearly, this was quite a crowd.
Although everyone in the room was very courteous and polite, this was not the voting experience I was anticipating. Maybe I should have left my Leslie Knope-esque enthusiasm at the door, but maybe that is not the problem at hand. Maybe, just maybe, voting should be a different experience. I’m not talking about exhilarating like your first time at Six Flags, or that feeling you got after completing your binge of Orange is the New Black’s second season, but voting should be fun, or at least appreciated.
There are many countries that don’t give their constituents much choice, such as our ‘friends’ in North Korea. They are given a ballot with a single candidate option, and are threatened with charges of treason if they do not comply. On top of that, said candidate is chosen by a group of Korean ‘politicians’ from the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, which doesn’t give voters much of a choice. In the United States, however, we are given many options, anyone that meets certain criteria can run for office, and it’s up to the governed to elect them into office. This is a much simpler process that we take advantage of.
If you want to see change, do something about it, you have the power. Register to vote, do your homework, and get out to those polls! Elected officials on the local, state, and national level make decisions that impact YOU, whether directly or indirectly. The fact that we are able to choose our elected officials, the people that make decisions that affect our daily lives, should be gratifying. It’s the little things like voting that make a big difference.