Taking Steps Towards Political Change
Yesterday something amazing happened.
We all know how tough it's been to live and breathe as a human being in the United States this year. Especially if you're a minority. The sheer number of <insert -phobic or -ist word of choice> comments that are made, casually or directly, have escalated exponentially since Obama had to leave office. If you haven't felt the change, or think things are fine, you probably have some privileges that many of us have not been afforded. Think about it. Own it. Self awareness is a beautiful thing and a step in the right direction.
But yesterday, was a glimmer of hope in a dark room. Yesterday people showed up, they voted, they proved that there is still hope and change is possible. Glass ceilings were broken, there were an INCREDIBLE amount of firsts, and it made me believe that we might just be okay after all.
As a woman, as the daughter of immigrants, as a global citizen, I know that the right to vote is one that is denied to many, which made the first time I voted even more meaningful. Last year was the first election I've ever been able to vote in. I left Toronto before I was of voting age and I just became an American citizen in 2014.. My vote almost didn't count--I'm an absentee Oregon voter but with my schedule, I hadn't filled out my ballot until it was too late which meant it wouldn't get to Oregon in time to count. Fortunately, there are perks to being in the airline business. A teammate took my ballot to Portland on a flight and a Captain I know who lives there (his son was in my friend's class--that's the class who followed my volunteering experience in Greece and made me cards) and he picked up my ballot on his day off to drop off for me. My very first vote was cast. Hearing that it's the first time I was able to vote, and how excited I was to vote, people have apologized that THAT was the election that will go down as my first. I'm just grateful to have a voice, to be able to cast a ballot, to say that I did what I could and upheld my civic duty. While the candidate I voted for didn't win, I did what I could at the time. In hindsight, there was so much more I could have done. I could have gotten involved earlier. I could have read up on issues more. I could have had more of a voice. But hindsight is 20/20. It's funny how when something doesn't go your way, you're either discouraged by it or you're motivated to never let that happen again--or at least do everything in your own power to do so.
At the time, the post political I had gotten was casting a vote. But there's so much more to do. Get involved. Go to rallies. Have conversations. Debate. Do something for your community. I'm still figuring out how I can use my voice, my time, and my energy to make a difference, but voting isn't enough--it is a first step though.
If you have ideas on how I, or anyone, can get more involved, send me your ideas. I'm trying to find something that will work for me. For the moment, I'm just educating myself. Reading articles, listening to podcasts, having conversations, but I know soon enough I'll want to do more and take action.