Pedro Vasquez – 20 June 2019
If my heart is still beating on Tuesday, 3 November 2020, I will be going out to cast my vote in the next US presidential election.
That´s 501 days, 5 hours, and 42 minutes from now.
Millions of other citizens of the United States will be doing the same.
I say I will vote if my heart is still beating, not because I plan to be dead by 3 November 2020 (though some people say that death and taxes, are the only thing certain), but because death is the only thing I can think of that would prevent me from voting.
I wasn’t born an American.
I am an American by choice.
I remember—as if it were happening right this minute—that I was a bit surprised when the person who was conducting my citizenship interview told me to write “Today is a good day” in one of the forms he had placed in front of me on his desk.
It was almost twenty-five years ago—just before I was to head overseas to my second duty station—that I went to Baltimore, Maryland, to take my citizenship oath.
That, I would never regret; for citizenship afforded me the opportunity to get a US passport: that little blue book so coveted the world over.
But that was not the most important thing I got the day I became a US citizen. The most important thing granted to this newly minted US citizen that day, back in 1995, was the right to vote.
All over the world, people have died fighting for their right to vote.
Sadly, the same happened in the United States.
Centuries ago, only white men who owned land could vote.
It wasn’t until almost a century after we became independent that African Americans were granted the right to vote (the right had been extended to all white men by then).
Then, in 1920, women were allowed to vote.
But not all women!
Women of many races—Asians, for example—were not allowed to vote yet.
Could you believe it? American citizens who were supposed to be willing to go overseas and die in the name of freedom were not allowed to vote
That’s right. And our voting system isn’t perfect even today.
For example, the people of Guam and Puerto Rico do not get to vote in the election our president.
However, citizens of Guam and Puerto Rico do get to pay taxes; and not only that, they also get to go fight in our foreign wars and die—all in the name of protecting the freedoms all of us Americans get enjoy.
Do you see anything wrong with the current situation?
As a citizen, I am lucky to have the right to participate in the election of our president, and there’s no way in hell I’m not going to exercise this right.
Taking time out of our busy schedule to go cast our vote may seem like something impossible to do—one more of the many “impositions” life can throw at us.
Some of us are just too busy.
We run around like chickens with their head cut off because with have too many things to do.
Job, school, children, meetings of all sorts, etc.—sometimes, it can feel as if there were not enough hours in the day for us to do everything we think we just have to do.
But, with conditions in our nation the way they are right now; with the direction things seem to be going in; with the freedoms we have taken for granted for so long now on the line, our lives—hard as they are—might just depend on us exercising our right to vote.
In our country, the presidential election comes only once every four years. Isn’t there a way we can start organizing our lives just a little bit—and far in advance—so that when Tuesday, 3 November 2020 comes around, we are in a better position to be able to carve a little time out of or daily routines to go cast our vote?
It’s our right.
We still have 501 days, 4 hours, and 52 minutes to get ready.
And, please, don’t let anyone try to convince you that your vote doesn’t count. It does!