In the past 48 hours I’ve heard at least three different people express how afraid they feel about tomorrow and I’m not going to pretend that tomorrow’s not a big deal. Of course, I have a strong opinion about which candidate I support and which policies align with what I value but I’m frustrated by the powerlessness that everyone seems to feel around this process. It seems we have forgotten how much power we really do have as citizens and humans and I’d like to remind us of this.
- Your power to vote Obviously you have a handful of candidates to choose from for president but you also have dozens of other positions to vote on. A president will certainly influence our national conversations but positions like attorney general, sheriff, and school board officials are shaping our communities and having a much greater impact on how we live together on a daily basis. Pay attention and use your power as voter to shape those choices with the same passion and vigor you’ve proclaimed for your presidential candidate.
- Your power to speak up We all have an audience that listens to us and considers our words with great weight, whether you realize it or not. From the children in our homes to the friends and co-workers we eat lunch with, our opinions are heard and you have the power to speak your truth and give dignity to all humans. This doesn’t mean shouting or screaming but consistently giving voice to those who might not always get invited to the conversation.
- Your power to protect No matter the outcome of this election, there will be groups of people who feel afraid or alone and you have the power to protect them from hate and a loss of dignity. Your power does not stop on election day but continues each day after in how you speak to my neighbors, which voices you choose to honor, and in how you stand for those who cannot. You have much more power in these areas than you often are willing to admit. Don’t forget it.
- Your power to move forward You may feel deep loss after this election or more likely, a sense of disenchantment, but you do have the power to move forward, to look for who is in need and offer help. Your power does not stop with your vote and your voice does not disappear. You get to say what kind of country we live in by being a citizen who shows up for the forgotten, protects the voiceless, and speaks out against injustice. You get to do that every day when you choose where to send your kids to school, how to spend your money, and who to interact with in your community.
I know voters feel like they don’t have a candidate that they like or that they trust but we do have the power to say no. We have the power to say we believe that all citizens are entitled to the human dignity they deserve and that we will not accept a leader who doesn’t recognize that. Our power as a citizenry comes in all the small interactions we have as one human to another. Therefore, I will not be afraid as I head to the polls tomorrow because if I do so I forfeit my power and that, I will not do.