Today is Election Day across the US. In Portland, our ballot is short, with a few bond measures to decide on. But elsewhere, voters have big decisions to make. Statewide elections in Kentucky and Mississippi will determine new governors, and Virginia voters are deciding on the makeup of their state legislature.
I’ve been on a political odyssey since the 2016 election. Before then, I barely paid attention to politics. I voted, I scanned the headlines, but didn’t go much beyond that. Life was full of more important, more interesting, more urgent matters to attend to.
Now, it’s a totally different ballgame. I now see democracy for what it has always been: government by the people. And we’re the people. And I’m part of that we.
These days I do more than vote. I talk to my friends about voting. I call my elected representative (which means I first had to learn who my representative is!). I also learned who my Oregon state representatives are, and how calling them has a bigger potential impact on my life and the lives of my neighbors than calling Washington, DC.
Less passive news consumption (because the news is overwhelming), more active engagement.
It’s not like politics is my hobby or full-time job. My life is full of family, work, volunteering, interests, and friends. The difference is, political participation is now part of my everyday life. I see it as vital — a responsibility, a privilege.
And I see just how much impact we can have when we work together.
Have you voted yet? If not, decide when you’ll head to the polls or drop off your ballot today. Set an alarm, and then do it.
Art by Lisa Congdon, print for sale on Etsy. Lisa gave me permission to post this on Instagram. I’m reposting here so you can be inspired, too.