While this blog entry is probably straying from the true subject of this blog, part of what I do talk about here is what inspires Gen Yers. And today, I am going to step out of my planned subject matter to share with you an amazing experience I had last week that filled this Gen Yers with such a sense of pride and inspiration, I feel compelled to share it.
Last Thursday, I headed to my local voting registrar's office to vote early because I will not be able to do so in person next Tuesday. I work more than 4o miles away from home, so to get there before closing time, I left work early and endured an hour and 45 minute commute. "I bet not many people my age would go through this just to vote" I was thinking as I was driving home.
When I finally walked in, I was shocked to see what seemed to be miles and miles of people, winding around and around the lobby of the building. A elderly gentleman with a bright yellow "election official" vest was herding people toward the very tail of this line.
"How long is the wait?" I asked him. "Oh, about 2 hours."
Riiiiiiiiiight. So I got into the back of the line, and hoped against all hope that he was wrong.
Well, he wasn't. It took me precisely 2 hours and 4 minutes to wind my way around to the voting booth. And with every shuffle of my shoes and stuff that got me closer to it, mixed in with the tiredness, hunger, and terrible pain in my feet, there was a increasing sense of pride. Not one person that had gotten in line with me left.
Now I should probably mention that I was born in a country where "voting" and "rights" were not concepts that were the government's favorites. Even though I moved to the U.S. when I was a little girl, I have always grown up with a sense of gratitude for everything it offers (this is not to say I agree with everything this country ever does-but I have the right not to agree-that in itself is amazing).
And so, I believe that voting is not just a right, it is an obligation, duty, and privilege, and take my responsibility very seriously. Even though I have had the right to vote for less than 10 years, this is the third presidential election I am voting in. But I have noticed that people my age don't always seem to agree with me about the seriousness of the voting.
But here is what really amazed me and made me so proud about last Thursday night. Granted, I live in a county with a lot of young folk, but at least every third person standing in that line looked my age. And they all stayed there!
Hundreds of Gen Yers, spending two hours of prime Thursday night DC Happy Hour waiting in a voting line to vote early. Sure, a few people winced at each other as we hopped from foot to foot, or perched on the ledge of a lobby column, and sure, along the way someone had left some post-it notes with things like "you are waiting 2 hours in line to vote absentee in person..." but it was great to see so many younger faces letting their voices be heard. And many mentioned that the reason they were standing in line that Thursday is because they thought there was going to be so many people coming out next Tuesday that the two hours would seem like a brief wait in comparison.
I don't know what will happen next Tuesday, and how many young people who got so energized this election cycle will actually turn out to vote, but from the looks of last Thursday, we are actually putting our voting fingers where our mouth is this time around!