Diana and Calypso, I love you both dearly. I love you fiercely. I am proud of both of you for having the strength of will to pursue your respective dreams, sometimes in the face of great trial. You are both intelligent young women who I believe will make a mark on the world. I do have a bone to pick with both of you though...you have both opted to forgo your right and responsibility to vote today.
Diana, you have told me it is because you are so disgusted with the options out there. So am I, but I am voting. At the very least you've given up your right to complain about whoever governs you. More than that you're saying you don't care who governs you. This is entirely inconsistent with the personality of someone who has railed against authority since her first word as a baby (a very emphatic "no").
Calypso, you have told me you're not voting because you don't feel well-informed enough about the issues and candidates to make a responsible choice. Whose fault is that? You live in a world where it is a matter of a few clicks on the keyboard and mouse to have vast quantities of information available so you may inform yourself. Yes, you live in a world where you feel rather inundated by the sheer volume of information and propaganda perhaps, but there is simply no excuse for someone who has easy access to information to claim ignorance. Your ignorance is a choice and a sad one given your intelligence.
The two of you live on a planet where some women are denied their voices and choices, where they are not permitted in public without a male relative as an escort, where girls are shot in the head simply because they chose to go to school and gain an education. These women and girls suffer and some die dreaming of having their educated voices heard, the right you have chosen to throw away.
Are women and girls half a world away too far-removed from your experience? Ok, fine. Let's bring it home. You remember Nana, your great-grandmother. She was born BEFORE it was legal for women to vote in our own country. I remember my own great-grandmother who was already married and a mother of three before she was permitted to vote. True they both have passed from this life but you have looked into the eyes of one of those women, been nurtured by her. I had dreams and goals that were directly and personally encouraged by these women, for whom the right to vote did not exist for their full lifetimes.
Still too far away? Too distant in the past? Well try this on for size, kiddos. In the last ten years I had a man my own age, born and raised in the USA tell me in all seriousness that he believed women should not have the right to vote but since they did they should have to vote in accordance with their father's wishes if they were single, or their husband's wishes if they were married. In the last two years I had a patient at my former workplace tell me emphatically he expected his daughter to vote the way he dictated because he still paid her bills. This is the here and now, my daughters.
You know my father and I have differences of opinion. You have witnessed the political debates between your father and me. I will be voting MY conscience and MINE alone. No one else will decide my vote for me. I raised you to follow your conscience too and it saddens me that you opt to not give it voice when it matters and when so many envy your opportunity and others would like to deny it.
The only wasted vote is one never cast.