I have always been a registered voter. As
soon as I turned 18 I had my voter registration card and have rarely
missed voting in an election since. One of the first things that I do
when I move is to update my registration so I do not miss an upcoming
election. That’s how strongly I believe in the power of a single vote.
Being at home these past few weeks, recovering from my surgery,
has given me plenty of time to see what’s on daytime TV. I had an opportunity
to catch a recent Oprah show and the theme was about encouraging people
to get out and vote, especially women.
The show also opened my eyes, as I did not realize that not
all families were political in nature, so to speak. I did not understand
that perhaps my voting experience was vastly different than a majority
of the women in our country. The way I was raised, both of my parents
instilled the belief that EVERY vote counted, and it was not only a
hard-earned right, but also my civic duty to vote. They also taught
me that it would be unlikely I will find a candidate that agrees with
all of my views and opinions. I must simply choose the candidate that
most closely represents my beliefs.
Emancipated slave and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth,
speaking at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron in 1851, said, "If
the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside
down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back,
and get it right side up again!"
I found the following item on the Oprah website. Now, I have
shortened it a bit, but the core message is still intact.
“There was a time not so long ago in this country when unmarried women
held no status, other than as old maids. Our opinions and choices didn't
matter because we needed a man to bring us value. Now we have the power
and have chosen not to use it. In the 2000 presidential election, 22
million unmarried women who were eligible to vote stayed home from the
polls. While 68 percent of married women voted, only 52 percent of unmarried
women did so. If single women voted at the same rate as married women,
millions more ballots would have been cast. Remember, 537 votes decided
the last presidential election. We owe more, and we ought to do better
and respect ourselves enough to be counted.”
She goes on to say that “…if you’re a
woman in America, you're one of the luckiest women on the planet. There’s
no other place on Earth where a woman has the freedom and the choices
that we take for granted every single day…as women in America, we have
richness of choice few other women can even dream of.”
For all the women around the world who don't have the choices
we do, consider honoring yours. Vote on November 2nd. There’s still
time to register. If you are a New Jersey resident, go to www.njelections.org
to register. Remember, every vote counts!
"The ignorance of one voter in a
democracy impairs the security of all."
John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), speech at Vanderbilt University,
May 18, 1963