Last year on election day I turned a new leaf and made a new commitment to the democratic process. Having lived a life of apathy until that point, I felt challenged to care by people in my life that I respected. Not pressured by them, mind you, but internally challenged. I saw their example, and felt I needed to take action in my own life to make some changes.
This mostly came about as I unpacked layers of my inner demons that year to discover I was a lazy and apathetic person in general, not just politically. I made decisions based on my comfort, on convenience, on what I was feeling at the moment. Caring about democracy just wasn’t in the top ten list of Things That Make Jen Feel Better.
Funny, since if you took democracy away from me I would be feeling very consternated.
So last week I dug out my voter’s pamphlet for my area and read up on all the issues. I found that as a homeowner I was keen to read up on proposals pertaining to property tax increases; as a car owner I read up on road and bridge proposals; as a mother I read up on school levy proposals. Not having thought about these things at all in the last year, my brain was exercised to think about my priorities and how I wanted my tax dollars spent.
The morning after I voted, I found myself leaning against the stove, sipping coffee and watching the local news coverage regarding election results. That afternoon I checked the website for our major newspaper to see updated election results. I found myself invested in the very issues I knew nothing about prior to election day.
I am no political activist, but my vote made a tiny dent in the way things turned out last week – both at the polls and in my priorities – and that’s all I was hoping for.