I Don’t Vote Because I’m Black, I Vote Cause I Can!
This year my family made a pact to all go and vote early, and I volunteered to take my Dad to the polls. This is an undertaking that NO ONE usually volunteers for, because its quite an ordeal since my Father is a quadriplegic. The process of getting him ready takes several hours, then once he has been dressed and placed in his wheelchair, there is the task of loading the wheelchair into his specially modified mini van. And naturally unloading him once we arrive at our destination, then re-loading him to go back home again. Now you see why NO ONE volunteers for this. But call me a sucker, cause I always take him to vote.
I walked into the precinct a few steps ahead of him and he maneuvered his massive 300lb wheelchair closely behind me. The motorized wheel chair is very large and daunting and looks like something from a Transformers movie. But we are used to stares and glares by now, Dad has been a paralyzed for nearly 12 years now.
The poll volunteers hustled to help us sign in and find a ballot station where he and I could sit together in privacy. You see, Dad has to read the ballot and tell me what to mark for him as he does not have much use of his hands. I stand quietly and wait (as long as it takes) for him to decide then I press the selection for him. He then confirms my selection and I go to the next screen. Now I’m sure you are rolling your eyes by now at this painstaking process, most folks would be agitated by the whole thing. And honestly, patience is NOT at all my virtue. But when I think of what this 77 year old man went through just to be able to vote, I find the patience of Job. After all, this man has more than earned his place at the ballot station.
I would love to tell you that I vote because I have lots of politically motivated ideals, but that is not quite the whole story. I would love to say that I vote because I think my vote will change the world, but I don’t believe that. I would love to say I vote because its my opportunity to have a voice…but alas none of that is true. Sure I vote for the candidates that have seem to have agendas most closely aligned with my beliefs, but I’m not convinced that my lone vote is enough.
The reason I vote is simply because I can!! That’s it!! Because I can!! Not just because I have the ‘right’, but also because I am physically, mentally and emotionally sound enough to carry out the process. How many folks like my Dad, don’t have children willing to take the time to get them to the polls? How many folks that don’t have transportation, so they don’t even bother? How many folks are even too ill to get out of bed? I think: “if my Father can survive Civil Rights and paralysis to make it to the polls and vote, what excuse do you or I have”?