I didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election, and I regret it.
I thought the candidate choices – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – were both terrible. I chose to protest by not voting at all.
Looking back now, I don’t know if Clinton would have done any better at being president than Trump. But as the last four years have gone on, I have come to realize that not voting was selfish and disrespectful.
It was disrespectful to people of color. African American men and women have been hung, beaten, burned, and attacked by dogs in efforts to have an equal footing in this country. Efforts that are still happening today. Throwing my vote away was like a slap in the face of those Americans who fought so hard for equality and voting rights.
It was disrespectful to women. Thousands of brave and proud women before me worked to get the right to vote. They did the hard stuff so I didn’t have to. Choosing not to fill out a ballot was choosing not to honor and respect them for giving me, and all women, a voice.
Even if you don’t care for the choices this election – please, please – do research and try and find a candidate with at least one redeeming quality or value that aligns with yours and then CAST YOUR VOTE.
Don’t disregard the right to vote. Too many people have struggled to give you one of the greatest freedoms in the world – the ability to choose a leader in a fair election, without fear.
Vote this year. Early if you can. But be sure and vote. I will.