I had a dream one night. I was dressed in after-five attire while having a family BBQ on the front yard. As we celebrated, a friend drove up and asked if I would babysit for her. I was trying to decide what to tell her because I already planned to go vote afterwards. I agreed and proceeded to take the child with me to the polling place. While we were there, I was marking a ballot; but distracted with my babysitting responsibility, I “messed up” and needed another ballot. I started voting again and the dream ended.
My first thought upon waking was, “Why was I wearing a little black dress outside at a day function?” Upon further reflection, however, the more intriguing question was why I was going to vote. It was not during any election time so it was very out of the ordinary. My initial interpretation was that it obviously symbolized a decision I needed to make in my life. That was enough for me. I went about my day. However, as the day progressed something was nagging at me. Of all the ways my subconscious could tell me that I had some important decision to make, why did it “elect” the voting process as a means to do it. Then, like a light switch coming on, it came to me.
Voting represents a choice we make not only for ourselves but for a larger body. It might be a private decision, but it does not remain personal. This is something that will affect more than one person— more than just me and you. Regardless of your individual views, participating in the voting process allows you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You might punch a ballot for a candidate in the country’s presidential election, text a number for a singer on your favorite televised talent show or let your voice be heard by a show of hands when your family can’t agree on which movie to watch. It doesn’t matter the scale of the voting. What does matter is that you realize you are a part of a community that wants to know what you think. Voting says we invite your opinion into the matter at hand. It is a right and a privilege to communicate our beliefs to those whom we belong. Let’s not take it for granted. Haye, maybe we can even dress up for the occasion.