Today was Election Day, an important Election Day at that. I live in Georgia, and our midterm elections were a big deal this year. We’re typically a red state, but the progression of politics in the past few years has swayed our votes quite a bit, and the results have shown in the primaries. Now, our gubernatorial race is a tight one between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. While the election is stressful for members of both parties, it did get a record number of voters to the polls. However, this led to some record-breaking lines.
As civically engaged as I am, I unfortunately have not yet reached voting age. Therefore, I do what I can to make my voice heard outside the polls. However, I took a different approach today. Rather than amplify my own voice, I encouraged amplification of others’ voices. My friends organized a nonpartisan project for this Election Day, one that was not meant to endorse one candidate over another, but to endorse civic engagement for all citizens. We traveled to various polling locations in our area and brought snacks, water, and ponchos to any voters who needed them, encouraging them to stay in line, thanking them for participating in democracy. Democrats and Republicans alike were welcomed to take water bottles when the waiting became hot and grueling, to grab ponchos when outdoor lines were hit with torrential downpour. Though not how I usually participate in politics, this method of helping was surprisingly gratifying.
I’m used to endorsing my own views as proudly as possible, sending angry tweets and picking fights on a day-to-day basis. And that won’t end here, as I still feel strongly about my beliefs. Today, though, I learned that voting isn’t always about Democrats versus Republicans or Liberals versus Conservatives. It’s about everyone taking part in the democracy we worked so hard to create. It’s about encouraging all citizens to make their voices heard, regardless of their individual views. It’s about creating the change we want to see in the world, one ballot at a time. Sure, we campaign and rally before elections and we tweet angrily as results come in, but when it comes time to do the voting itself, all that goes away. We don’t tell people who to vote for anymore, rather we simply tell them to vote. Today, I simply encouraged people to vote. I smiled at them, even if I thought their views may have differed from mine. I offered them snacks and water, even if I thought they’d be one to argue with me on social media. I threw them ponchos as they began to jump out of line when the rain came, even if they wore a shirt in support of the candidate I rallied against. I learned the importance of treating people as people, regardless of whether I agreed with them or not.
So, after a long, vaguely political story, I want to leave you with this: When it comes to helping others, leave your judgments outside. We always are given the choice between hate and love. Choose love.
Sponsor this article