I am getting older.
Now before you instantly click out of this blog post, hear me out. Or read me out.
Okay, still with me?
My birthday is November 1st and I will be turning a whopping 23 years old.
And for some reason this one has got its claws in me because 23 comes with expectations . . . like that I stop buying SpongeBob Kraft Mac & Cheese from the supermarket. To be fair, 22 also came with its fair share of expectations and I managed to ignore most of them quite effectively.
But I digress.
Usually around my birthday I think about all the things I meant to accomplish and didn’t. Y’know, stuff like, write a novel in three weeks.
Because how cool would that be!
(For all you NaNoWriMo-ers out there . . . it’s not going to happen for me. Just . . . no)
And then I start thinking about all the causes I believe in and should have done more to support. Planned Parenthood. The Trevor Project. Marriage Equality.
That’s when a nice layer of guilt settles in.
So I’ve decided to try something new: I’m asking all of you to grant me a very simple birthday wish.
Please, please vote.
Pretty please? With a cherry on top? And then some whipped cream because that sounds delicious.
I don’t even care who you vote for–okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. I care because I spend a large percentage of my time worrying about equality in this country. Or y’know, the lack of equality. Then again seeing how women still don’t have equal pay I don’t understand how people can afford to be apathetic. Oh, and when a certain group of politicians believe they know what is best for my body and are taking steps to eliminate my choices…
But even though I disagree fundamentally with Romney/Ryan, I hope you vote.
And if you’re not old enough to vote yet . . . please bug people.
I mean it.
You have my full permission to say: sorry, Marni Bates told me to annoy you about this!
Go talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, friends, classmates . . . and ask them what issues matter most to them.
Ask them to consider your future.
I’ve noticed that with family members puppy dog eyes can go a long way.
And here’s the truth: some people don’t want to think about what it is at stake for our country. It’s easier not to care when the problems feel so big.
But I will never forget the way my older brother laughed at me in elementary school when I told him I wanted to be a marine biologist. He said that female marine biologists didn’t earn nearly as much as their male counterparts. I remember glaring at him and calling him a jerk and a liar. I said that we lived in America!
Then I looked it up . . . and I was heartbroken. I was absolutely crushed. I felt betrayed by my own country. And I felt so achingly powerless. I never did become a marine biologist, but that was the day I became a feminist. That day I decided that I was going to be part of the fight for equal pay for equal work.
My brother still calls me naive, but I do believe in this country. And I think it can be better.
Voting is the way to make that happen.
Fun fact: these people think so too.
So if you don’t want to think about it–tough luck. Because I don’t believe any of us really have that luxury. Not when equality and basic human rights are at stake.
Not when a portion of the government wants to legislate on love. Not when politicians are trying to tell women who have been raped that if it wasn’t forcibly done . . . well, it just wasn’t legitimate then.
That’s when I don’t care if you don’t like the choices for president. That’s when I don’t want to hear a lame excuse about how one vote doesn’t matter.
This is your chance to be heard. It’s a chance to make other people hear you.
A way to stand up for something that you believe in.
So if you want to give me the very best kind of birthday present, please encourage people to exercise their hard-fought right to vote.
I also wouldn’t say no to a Starbucks gift card. Or maybe a new pair of headphones.
*Waves to mom as she reads this blog entry*
Phew, okay. I’m feeling a little bit better about turning 23 now.
P.S. Logan wants me to tell you that he thinks voting is sexy. So there you have it.
One day, you’ll tell your grandkids how you went out there and voted on your 23th year of life and how amazing it felt.
23–will be a good year 🙂