When I was in elementary school, I remember the staff staging a vote in the auditorium. This was in, what? 1980? Carter/Reagan, I remember that much. They had little ballots and a ballot box and everything, and they had us all go vote. So I was taught about voting as a kid.
When I turned 18, I did register to vote; however, my addiction led me down a path that didn’t include civic engagement.
Once I decided to get clean, felony convictions had left me disenfranchised. I had no voice in the political process in this country.
I sat up watching the election results these last two presidential election cycles, so tense and powerless.
I won’t get into my political ideologies; they don’t matter anyway–not for this discussion.
Once we got out here to the middle of buttfuck nowhere, I had to get my Texas license and register my car and all that other shit one has to do when moving to a new location. It was an absolute pain in the ass. The sheer volume of documentation required was insane. I’m pretty sure that I killed off several acres of trees with all the papers I had to gather up to get my license and registration.
Since I had done so much hunting and gathering of paperwork, I went ahead and got my ass registered to vote.
Now, Sunshine thinks it doesn’t matter who I vote for, it’s all predetermined by some illuminati-like organization that operates behind the scenes of all politics anyway. But Sunshine also believes that the black helicopters are coming any day now, and all sorts of other conspiracy theories. So I just ignore him.
However, even if Sunshine was correct, and it IS all predetermined, I don’t care. Once I became a convicted felon, I was stripped of so much. I was stripped of my personal identity in prison, with a DOC# that mattered more than my name, and prison orange clothes. I was stripped of my right to own a firearm. I was stripped of my right to vote.
I was also indirectly stripped of so much… As a convicted felon, I’m ineligible to rent a unit at most apartment complexes. I am automatically disqualified from many jobs.
Well, this year, I decided “NO MORE!”
I took back my right to vote.
This year, my voice will be heard. This year, I don’t have to feel as powerless as I did during the last two presidential election cycles.
And after this presidential election, my voice will be heard in each and every election that I am eligible to vote in. I will be showing up to vote in midterm elections, too.
My mom once told me that if I didn’t vote, then I didn’t have a right to complain about elected leadership in this country. She was right. If I am not participating, then I am part of the problem.
Starting now, I will be part of the solution.