Now, frankly, I'm about as tired of people who try to guilt you into voting as I am of people who are defensively apathetic about voting, but the bottom line is that you really should just FREAKING VOTE ALREADY. I'll admit, I don't have a perfect voting record (I've missed a primary or two) due to either ignorance or laziness. But I'm determined to do better.
The other day, a man who barely spoke English came into the library and asked my co-worker for help. He was having a little trouble being understood, so he came over to me at the reference desk and I did what I usually do when I can't understand what someone is saying (whether it's due to a language barrier, hearing impairment, or if it's a kid trying to pronounce some manga title I've never heard of ) - I asked him to write it down on a piece of paper. This is what he wrote:
So simple, yet so freaking beautiful: he wanted a voter registration form. Now, I don't consider myself a blindly patriotic person. I know there are major flaws in our current political system. However, I'm involved in local politics in various ways and I know that there ARE good people working hard out there to better our communities. And I've always considered voting to be important, so this kind of thing, a man who cares enough about his new country to want to have a say in what goes on, gets me all choked-up-feeling. I just want to run to the top of the Statue of Liberty wearing a dress made of flags and shoot flags out of a flag cannon while singing "God Bless America."
And honestly, the same thing happens when I step into a voting booth (the choked-up feeling, not the flag cannon stuff).
It's the feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself. It's letting your voice be heard, in whatever small way it can be heard when you feed your ballot through the new weird scantron ballot machine. It's knowing that my great-grandma wasn't allowed to vote when she was a young woman because she was a woman, but my grandma could and my mother could - and did. When we were kids, my mom would take my sister and me into the voting machine with her and let us watch as she clicked the little knobs down. Then my sister and I would fight over who got to slide the curtain open and we'd all go get ice cream. OH SAY CAN YOU SEE...
Anyway, the transaction with the man at the library reminded me that Election Day is almost upon us (and the deadline to register for the NY primary is THIS SUNDAY). You see, there are other important things to vote for besides the Office of the Presidency. Whether you're a librarian or not, it's useful to know what the deal is with voting so that you can be informed and help answer peoples' questions. Since there's no United States of the Internet (yet), you guys will have to figure out the rules for your own state, should you need to. Below are a few helpful links.
Non-Partisan General Information:
Project Vote Smart
Voting Information for New Yorkers:
NYS Board of Elections
Online Voter Registration!
I'm not telling you who to vote for. I just think it's a good idea to vote, and kinda fun too. Besides, apathy is SO ten years ago. Do it for your country. Do it for yourself. I don't care. Just get out there. NOW WHERE THE HELL IS MY FLAG CANNON???