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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why I vote, and you should too.

From Women are Watching

This is me after I voted in 2012. It was better than my college graduation and the time I went to the Hershey factory combined! AKA extremely wonderful. On that same day, my father voted, my 100-year-old great aunt voted (RIP Doris), Beyonce voted. It made this whole great nation feel wonderfully small.

Here are the reasons I vote.

1. When you vote, you feel so, so good.

And proud. Yes, proud. You feel a sense of accomplishment because you said this is how the world should be and I’m not just going to sit around watching reruns of Shark Tank and eating Hint of Lime Lime Tostitos and complaining to my friend Joyce. You did the right thing, and you feel joy. You will have the best day just because you voted. I wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote, then walked around with a spring in my slinky step. It lasted for days. I can summon it when I’m blue. It’s more effective than exercise or ecstasy or cheesecake (note: I have never done ecstasy, ok?! I am a law-abiding citizen.)

Seriously, if you’re not registered to vote, or if you’re not sure (it can be confusing, bureaucracy) stop reading this and get it done. Nothing I’m going to say is more important than you registering right now. Do it.

2. I find it incredibly, deeply satisfying that every single vote is exactly equal.

When practically everything in the world feels deeply unfair, it's a pleasure to know my vote is valued just exactly the same as your vote or Ryan Gosling’s vote or yes, even Beyonce's vote. If Blue Ivy was old enough to vote, her vote would be worth just the same. And anyway, the government probably has special dispensation for Blue Ivy. She’s probably running for president next election on a platform of FABULOUSNESS FOR ALL.

Do not, DO NOT decide that your vote doesn't matter. I don't care where you live, or what your reasons, your vote matters. You can’t complain about the status quo or about the crazy medieval attacks on women’s health unless you VOTE. And apathy is so 2008.

3. The crazy and depressing truth is that there are people running for office right now who could actually affect your life. PARTICULARLY your sex life. PARTICULARLY if you’re a woman. Yup.

You might be thinking, how is that even possible? THIS IS 2014! Well, here's how: Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who’s running for Senate? He’s all about letting your boss tell you what kind of birth control your insurance should cover. (Even if your boss thinks the answer is none, shut up and go back to putting the lids on jars you silly girl.) And if Gardner and just five more of his friends win their races, people who agree will be running the Senate and the House. By my amateur calculations, that’s the whole Congress, which means they’re going to get right down to business on the whole blocking-coverage-of-birth-control thing.

When you can't get access to affordable birth control, suddenly your sex life is ruled by fear. And that’s not fair. So if you are a woman, or you love a woman, or you’ve ever met a woman: vote.

4. I vote because the number of backwards, out-of-touch, downright freaking unbelievably anti-women’s health politicians out there right now makes my blood boil.

Like Thom Tillis in North Carolina, who snuck a bunch of abortion restrictions into a bill that was supposed to be about motorcycle safety. YES, MOTORCYCLE SAFETY. And called opposition from people who spoke out against his weird obsession with making decisions about women’s bodies “a bunch of whining coming from losers.” LOSERS! Or Dan Sullivan in Alaska, running for the Senate, who just outright refuses to reveal whether he supports the Violence Against Women Act.

And then there’s Joni Ernst running in Iowa who has tried to block women from getting cancer screenings and HIV tests and whatever else they need at Planned Parenthood health centers; she wants to repeal the ACA, including the birth control benefit that helps millions of women take charge of their fertility and their lives — oh, and while she’s at it just straight up abolishing the minimum wage. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PROCESS THAT. But rather than go deep into a rage spiral, I vote. It’s healthier, more effective and infinitely more pleasant.

BTW, even if you don't live in those states, you can help. Planned Parenthood Action Fund will tell you what to do.

5. Voting is kind of a gateway drug to “getting involved.”

And you have to get involved. We need you. “We” meaning women, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, dogs. Everyone. There's SO MUCH MORE you can do to make this whole election thing work for you. If the thought of trying to figure out exactly how to do more for yourself and your community confounds you, I feel you bro. Planned Parenthood Action Fund made a thing called the Actionator that makes it simple as signing up for Tinder. You have no excuse. And neither do I.

I didn’t always vote. And that’s embarrassing, more embarrassing than being naked on TV or being told you look like a “baby giraffe” when you walk in heels at awards shows. I didn’t vote for a lot of reasons: because I thought our mothers had already handled feminism. Because I live in New York City where, I was told, it was all democrats anyway. But mostly because I didn’t feel my voice mattered. But then I realized: if we don’t vote for ourselves, who will? And by voting for ourselves, we vote for each other. I know that’s a tongue twister but it’s real.

So get registered, get involved. Make your own reasons.

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