Self-Care Challenge (Day 302): Voting

Voter's envelope

No matter how you feel about this year’s Presidential nominees, the fact that we have the right to vote sets us apart from many other nations. And as much as we seem to enjoy complaining about the tactics and off-putting behaviors of the candidates, at least we get to choose our flavor of imperfection. (It still boggles my mind sometimes that we expect or hope for a perfect candidate who has zero flaws or skeletons. Where did we ever get a crazy idea like that?)

While it may be tempting to consider opting-out of casting a vote altogether this year (I mean, it’s certainly one way to avoid taking credit or blame for the country’s future debacles, right?), having the courage to speak up, cast a vote, and make your opinion known is an act of self-care in its own right.

Yesterday, I slid my ballot into the drop box just outside of the local City Hall–and oh boy did it feel great to get it crossed off my list! Perhaps there are some who feel early voting is unwise (Lord knows what might happen over the next two weeks based on what’s happened thus far!), but then again, who can predict what might happen the first week after the election either?

Nevertheless, I cast my vote and chose the candidate that I feel is best suited to lead the country–the exact same thing everyone else who chooses to vote will be doing.

But I have to admit, I am soooo ready to stop seeing political posts on social media, and head into the warmer, fuzzier holiday season. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t hidden a few of my friends on Facebook because of that either. The beauty of a news feed is that you get to choose what you see. It’s not that I’m denying the existence of differing opinions, it’s just that I’m not interested in seeing them. They aren’t going to change my opinion at this point.

It is a bit comical how defensive Americans get when the topic of politics comes up, though. Even in casual conversations, words and demeanors can turn vicious in a matter or minutes.

A friend of mine who became a naturalized citizen just a couple of years ago helped me gain some new insights during the 2012 election. Evidently, in many other countries discussing politics doesn’t automatically turn sour when two people disagree. There isn’t a debate about who is right or wrong for valuing or holding a specific opinion. Instead, the conversation leans toward an opportunity to discuss significant issues facing nations and families. And more than that, it’s an opportunity to discuss potential solutions.

To me, it sounded totally bizarre at first. I can’t remember the last time I participated in, heard, or overheard a political conversation that wasn’t emphatically argumentative. But given that I can’t stand confrontations, and will do almost anything to avoid them (unless I’m given no other option than to set a boundary, that is), the idea of having a rational conversation about a contentious political issue sounded intriguing to me.

While a Presidential vote certainly impacts our personal lives on a larger scale, we cast votes every day. We vote for companies and their products when we spend money on them. We vote for or against relationships with the amount and quality of time we spend with other people. And sometimes we even vote on ourselves when we choose to either take action or remain complacent when there is something in our life that’s making us unhappy.

We vote every single day.

And let’s face it, not making a choice is still making a choice.

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