My First Election

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Written by: Kari Fulk

It is my civic duty to vote.

If you don’t vote, you are part of the problem.

By not voting, you are not allowed to complain.

By voting Third Party you are throwing away your vote.

I have been able to vote for ten years, however this was the first year I participated.  This was the first year I felt I HAD to vote, for my nation, for my children, for my rights.

The difference between this election and the past elections I could have voted for, was my fear. Fear for my children, fear for the hate that was being spewed, not just from candidates to each other, but to others in passing; Calling out people in the street that they don’t know, because they are of a different race or they don’t share the same marital values as them.

This Election I have studied each of the candidates, taken all the online quizzes, to see which side I “should” go with, and studied the topics that I was unsure on.

It’s important I tell you about three people in my life before going on.  They’re important to me because they are part of the reason I voted, and they are the reason I feel no shame in who I voted for. Watching the three of us together you would never be able to tell that we should not all be friends, but, on paper, we shouldn’t be.  Nevertheless, we are the best of friends; sharing our joys and our sorrows of every day.

One is part of the LQBT community, one a strong feminist, one is a proud Republican and one is a moderate liberal, siding with both sides, depending on the top.  Never once through this entire election have we belittled each other, or called each other names because of who we were voting for.  We listened to and heard each other out on our opinions, and we valued each other’s opinion, something, I feel, our nation at large is not currently doing.

On Tuesday we all sat together as the polls started closing and the votes came in.  All of us hopeful for our candidate to win, knowing that no matter who won, we would still love support each other come Wednesday Morning.  We stayed up till we no longer could, and all said that we loved each other no matter the outcome.

Wednesday morning came and the hatred around us had already been spewed. This was the first time that I was actually paying attention; CNN was on in the background as I got my children ready for school. We had supported those of us who had hoped for history to be made by having the first woman President. In the end, we did not gloat for the candidates who won.   We rationally talked it out and supported each other, as we all decided what the results meant for us as individuals, and what this meant for our families.

Being a white, female millennial many just assumed that I would vote for Hillary.  I constantly heard, “We Woman Need to Stick Together,” and, “How can you NOT vote for a woman, being a woman?”

I read an Article that a friend posted the day after the election entitled, “Dear Fellow White Women – We F****D up.”  The hate that came from this article, blaming the white women of this nation, for not voting for Hilary, blaming an entire race and gender for not voting for a specific person, but instead, voting for who they felt would make the best leader. The hypocrisy that is spewing in this article came in broad strokes.  The author believed that every single white woman should vote for Hilary, and all the white males that voted for Trump are entitled rapists, who want to eliminate woman’s rights.

Is this the way we all thought this election would turn out?  No. Was it hard to grasp the concept that their candidate lost?  Of course!  However, I feel that there is no need for that hate that has spewed since the conclusion of the election.

As I continued to watch the news coverage following the election, I watched coverage of riots that have broken out.  I’ve seen people that pull someone else out of a car, just to beat them for being a different color.  I’ve seen woman who been grabbed on subways because they were not allowed to be independent without repercussions.  I’ve seen members of the LGBT community who have been beaten for being with their significant other.  I’ve even seen others storm Trump Tower in New York City and Chicago, claiming that Donald Trump is NOT their president.

I hurt for our nation.  I hurt for those that cannot see past this.  I hurt for those that feel they cannot move on from this.  I hurt for those that cannot stand up and say, “I did not win, but I will not be defeated.”

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