I have been a voter for the past forty years…time truly does fly! In all of those years, I have never missed a presidential election and have rarely missed an opportunity to vote during midterms, or for any state and local election. I take voting very seriously. This “seriousness” may be why I had a little trouble writing about the “joy” of voting. It’s always so serious for me!
I am choosing, however, to write about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections when Barack Obama became the first African American president, and went on to serve two terms. Obama’s elections, and my ability to vote for him, allowed me to feel like I was part of a cultural shift. A shift that was a very long time in coming. I was elated when he won in 2008, and relieved in 2012. Although I am a white, Norwegian American woman, I felt that I was finally able to vote for someone who represented me. Skin color was not the defining characteristic, nor was gender. Voting for Obama was voting for someone I felt believed in free and fair public education. My vote for Obama symbolized, for me, a leader who would move the country forward towards greater inclusivity and opportunity for all. Voting for Obama was voting for an intelligent, thoughtful, respectful, articulate, global minded and empathetic person who would represent not only me, but this country on the world stage in a way that I could be proud of. These were actually extremely “joyful” votes for me to cast…now that I think about it.
I believe in this country and the journey we have been on for 200 plus years. I believe in the goodness of Americans and I look forward to casting my next vote in November 2018. It really is a privilege, and a joy, to vote!