Voting as an Act of Resilience

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Voting as an Act of Resilience

Voting is Resilience in Action

Each person considering their opinion and weighing in, one vote for each question. It is a small thing and over a lifetime it is a series of choices that represent your opinion. Voting is in your circle of control. There is so much about the political process that lies well outside your control and influence; choosing who to say ‘yes’ to is one choice you get to make. Where I live, I can choose to cast my vote by mail, early in person, or on the day of election itself. Another layer of choice and control. 

Campaigning brings people together.

People with similar viewpoints and passions work together to build campaigns, plan strategy, knock on doors, and send postcards. Online and in person they work together toward a common goal. Friends are made, ideas are exchanged, and communities are built. Bridges are built between groups who have the same goal. When their candidate or issue wins – they celebrate. Losing is exhausting and dispiriting. And then a new campaign is built using another strategy. The community rebuilds. 

Preparing to vote builds community resilience.

Look up the ballot for your area and do some research. Which judge has what record? What do different experts say about the levies listed? What are the candidates stand on various issues? Life is busy. If you don’t work in government, you may not know these things off the top of your head. Reading through the ballot and doing some research builds your knowledge and awareness of issues around you. Hundreds of people doing this every election creates an informed community. Knowing what is going on around you allows you to join with others to make a difference in things that matter to you. 

You don’t know when your vote will be the one that matters.

I used to vote out of a sense of duty. One year, something I voted for – funding for a vocational center – passed by 11 votes. Was I that eleventh vote that made a difference, or was I one of the hundreds before that built a base of support so those last few votes could tip the balance? What I do know is that if a mere dozen of us had stayed home that day, the students in our area would not have seen that building open when it did.  

It is important that everyone use their voice.

Poll watchers work hard to predict which way the vote will go. In the end, they don’t know. It is only by everyone having their say that we know what the outcome will be. Everyone’s voice is important and we don’t really know what people are thinking until it is all tallied up at the end of the election. 

What about the dark side?

But what about the dark side of politics? Viscous ads. Big money from corporations influencing local politics. Unfair redistricting. Elections are inherently human events which includes the dark side of humanity. I have heard people say that politics are such a mess that they don’t vote at all. They say their one vote isn’t going to fix the system. However, boycotting the whole things leaves with you with no voice. A single drop of water is nothing; all the drops combined is a river. Your one vote, combined with others makes a difference. 

Educate yourself about the ballot. Vote as best you see fit. Track some of the local issues and elected officials in your town and school district. Talk and listen to others about their point of view. Alone you can do nothing. Together we are the community and our vote and voice make a difference. This is community resilience on a larger scale. 


Laura A. Gaines

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