My First Voting Experience (Updated 11/9)

It is now November 9, 2016, and I am feeling disheartened and disgusted. I am hesitant to look back on what I wrote yesterday, because I know it will make me even more emotional than I already am right now, but I know that I need to add my reactions.

I guess I was naive to think that my fellow Americans had morals, or at least would be able to stand up for them. I guess I was wrong in feeling hopeful that at least the majority of people in this country care about its inhabitants. I guess I was wrong in thinking that our country can make progress. I guess I should have taken heed to the reading I did for my psychology class just days ago about how blatant biases seem to be fading, but are actually still in existence and just hidden. I guess I should have prepared myself for the terror and heartbreak that I am enduring; little did I know that I would cry so much over something I had felt so hopeful about. But above all, I can have dignity knowing that I did what I could to support this country and that I will fight to support those whose rights and well-being are now at risk.

I am not just upset because one party won over the other; I am horrified at the thought of what the results of this election will do to those who are not straight, white males. Even further, what message are we sending to children through these results? I am truly embarrassed of our country right now, and I cannot believe that the first election I voted in is one that will validate the prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination that already hurt others and will continue to do so.

For all of you who are hurt like me, know that I am here for you. Do not let people invalidate your emotions, as this is truly a serious matter, and your emotions show that you have humanity. Let us stick together and do what we can to support each other.

-Stephanie

Read ahead if you want to see the hope for our future I had that would later be threatened.

——————–

“I Voted Today.”

For the first time, this phrase was not a meaningless one on a sticker given to me after participating in my high school’s faux election. I actually voted today. I voted in the general election, for the presidency, and for every other position on both sides of the ballot. The aforementioned phrase was still on the sticker I was given today, of course, but I actually had a part in our democracy. Holy cannoli.

I had been looking forward to voting, of course, but it did not really hit me that I was going to vote until today. Coming from me, someone who cried on her eighteenth birthday a mere three months ago (I was upset about my childhood officially ending, okay?), voting was surreal. I could not believe that I was actually old enough to vote, as I still view myself as a thirteen-year-old. But alas, this afternoon, I got myself up from my schoolwork (if any of my professors are reading this, hello) and got myself to the polls. Walking into my designated voting location and receiving my ballot was so weird. That is pretty much the only way I can put it. Before and as I was casting my vote, I was honestly quite nervous. As I am a neurotic person, I was worried that I would somehow not be able to vote, I would break a machine, or I would somehow mess up filling in the bubbles. While filling in the ballot, though, I could not stop smiling. Now, I enjoy smiling from time to time, but there are not many times that I smile for minutes straight without a typical amusing stimuli, let alone a piece of paper, so this was odd for me. Specifically as I was filling in the bubble regarding the presidency, I started to tear up. It really hit me that after watching Saturday Night Live‘s political sketches and shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ever since I was in elementary school, I could actually have a say in our democracy. Furthermore, acknowledging that suffragettes worked so hard for women like me to vote today was truly something to appreciate. Anyways, after I completed filling out my ballot, I put it into the machine, received my sticker (which I almost forgot to take; what a tragedy it would have been if I did not get one), and was on my way back home. Yay.

As one does, I got a multitude of pictures taken of me with my sticker on my flannel shirt, and posted a selfie on Twitter. I saw #SmartGirlsVote floating around my Twitter timeline, so I decided to join in, especially since Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a wonderful organization and one of my favorite accounts I follow. To my surprise, they actually retweeted me, and I definitely received the most amount of retweets and favorites that I ever have in my years on the social media platform. It was amazing, and the support I received (even the non-verbal support) was heartwarming. See, if having a say in our country itself is not enough to motivate someone to vote, just let them know that they may receive a lot of positive attention from posting about it on social media; therefore, vote!

So anyways, thanks for reading this post. This may be a messy one, but I felt as though I should type out my immediate reactions after this important event in my life. Now I shall go back to my schoolwork, and also obsessively look at the results of the election.

What was your first voting experience like? Let me know!

-Stephanie

P.S. If you did not notice, I am totally doing “The Disney Point” in the featured image of this post. Please hire me, Walt Disney Company.

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