It can feel daunting
this act and civic duty
Every need or wanting
in a flaunting
campaign promise (lies & beauty)
With hatred spewing
and the future up for grabs
Our inaction eschewing
(our voice) our vote is what we have
So use it.
My grandparents came over from Italy during the great wave of immigration in the early 1900s. They settled in Philadelphia and had to scrape for every penny. My father still tells me stories of how Sophia (my grandmother) could make a meal out of eleven cents. She would get a lamb bone from the butchers and soak it in boiling water for most of the day. She would cut up carrots and celery and add that to the pot and of course peel garlic and onions and add those last. Finally, she would haggle with the baker for day old bread and rip the loaf in to chunks and add it to the whole mixture. This bone stew would feed a family of six and often hungry cousins who would drop by.
My grandparents viewed voting as something that only the rich white people, born in this country, did. They didn't have the luxury of time, money or energy to vote, but they made sure that their children did. Me not voting is the equivalent to not putting up a picture of family members on our ofrenda (see the Pixar movie “Coco” for reference). Which is to say, no bueno, molto brutto, very bad.
I live in California and we have direct democracy. There are propositions ( or “prop” as we call them) that can amend the state constitution and ensure that the voice of the people play a role in our government. It's nice to know that I can afford to take time to learn about the issues that face my community and vote on a prop to help address that issue.
For example, Prop 10 is on Rent Control and I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, San Francisco. This prop hits close to home. This prop limits the amount a landlord can raise rent when a new renter moves in to a unit. We need all the help we can get in SF to curb greedy real estate interest groups from protecting their profits. That's just one of the propositions on our ballot -- we have 11 in total. You’re damn right I'm voting. I have two daughters. I want them to live in a world where they can have the rights and freedoms to make choices about their bodies, about their well being, and being able to afford to live here. I just hope that someday if they choose to have a family of their own, that my picture sits on my grandchildren’s’ ofrenda as they enact their voice in our system of power to ensure access and equality for all.