Today is a really big day. Not just because it’s Tuesday, but because it’s the Tuesday. The Tuesday we have all been waiting for.
The significance of this election in particular has always been something I’m consciously aware of, but the weight of it didn’t really hit me until last week, and it stayed with me all weekend and through today.
On my drive to work this morning I was listening to music, running a couple errands that were on the way, enjoying the cool weather and minimal traffic, and then it hit me: today millions of us are going out and voting for a woman, for President of the United States. I started to tear up, and when I arrived at work I had to sit in my parked car for a few minutes and gather myself. It was hard to do because once it hit me, it was all I could think about.
Throughout the rest of the day as I have been following the news, this one story has stuck with me: thousands of people are paying tribute to Susan B. Anthony, by leaving their I Voted Stickers on her tombstone in New York. In fact, the visiting hours at her gravesite have been extended because so many people are making a pilgrimage to visit it.
Susan B. Anthony is one of the most famous feminists of her time who played a pivotal role in fighting for women’s suffrage and equal rights. She tried to vote in a presidential election and was arrested for it. She died just three years before the 19th Amendment was passed, which gave women the right to vote. She never got to see the rewards of her life’s work, and that is why so many people are taking their stickers to her grave, to show her.
Voting is something I think a lot of people take for granted. When I turned 18, I registered to vote, signed up for absentee ballots, and since then have only voted at home, in a relatively non-earth shattering manner. Had I been born in a different time, this may not have been the case. I can’t even imagine the strength it must have taken for women like Susan B. Anthony to stand up for themselves, to put their own lives and livelihoods at risk for equal rights. They knowingly made themselves targets, all for the sake of other women whom they were fighting for. Sound like anyone else you may know?
Seeing the videos of so many people paying homage at her gravesite brought me to tears. If only she could know in some way that all of us down here are thanking her for her life’s work. To know that so many millions of people, mainly women, have had their lives changed because she cared so deeply for a cause, that the rest of us cared about just as much? I can’t imagine what that must feel like.
Since crying in your car in the parking lot at work isn’t exactly something you’d be proud of per se, I was glad to see that I’m not the only one who’s feeling emotional about today. I had no idea that I would feel a strong a connection as I did when I voted on my absentee ballot a few weeks ago, or today when I watched via social media as my friends and coworkers and fellow female voters went to cast their votes as well.
So I just want to remind everyone out there how significant our votes are. They are not a given. They are not guaranteed. Up until one hundred years ago, half of us weren’t even allowed to vote. It is now our right, but that wasn’t always the case. Please be wary of this as you cast your votes today and always. Someone fought very hard for you to have that right, and if in your mind you can spare two seconds to send a special thank you to them, for this which you are now allowed to do, for this day you are given to vote and have your voice be heard, I think you should.
So right now I am going to go for a run, for both clarity and exercise purposes. Just-before-sunset is always the best time to run, in my opinion. And I never run with headphones on. I like to hear the silence of the neighborhoods as everyone winds down for the evening, as I gaze at the purple mountains fading away in the sunset. The sunsets each night are always breathtaking and never disappointing, and I always find myself thinking, how can I be so lucky to live in such a beautiful state? And tonight I am hoping that when I come back from my run and settle into the evening myself, that there will be good news awaiting. I really think there will be.