I'm a Canadian living in the US. I have a permanent resident card which means I can feel comfortable living here--that was not the case when I was here illegally I can tell you!--but just as my mom promised when she insisted we find a way to move to the United States, the feeling of freedom and a belief that anyone can do anything is palpable here. And though I came here with the intention of begging my family to move back home, I ended up staying. I stayed because first I, and then my kids, felt encouraged to discover our passions and be ourselves here. I ended up staying because I've come to love life, and myself, here in America.
And like with most things I love, I want desperately to be part of its story. Although I can't legally vote, I do anyway. Not by forging papers or lying to officials. But by taking full advantage of the freedom that living here gifted me with. And it is that freedom I am voting for.
As writers on OpEdNews, we are encouraged to offer our thoughts, fears and suggestions freely and in our own voice. It is a progressive website, and being new at the whole political thing I had no idea what a progressive was when I began submitting articles and diaries, but I knew that the idea of being for progress appealed to me, and so I shared. I have been given advice from editors and commenters. I have re-thought my positions and stated ideas with more clarity as time went on. In this way, I vote.
When I shop for groceries my wallet begs me to go straight to the ramen soup and crackers, and then get the hell out of there! With much intention I say no, and gather foods that are locally grown, organic, GMO free and/or whole grain all natural ingredients. Over the years I have learned what foods and additives to avoid, I've learned that we feel healthy and full eating less when our food offers us more, and I've changed my habits with only a little guilt about what I wish I'd known. I am fully aware that years from now I won't be impressed with some of the choices I make today, and that's awesome! It helps me to remember that we are all in different places and on different paths. So I comfortably smile at the man buying Ramen noodles even as I offer him a little information. Just a little! I'm not about to hound someone to change their ways when I am quite certain mine need to be changed too, I just don't know yet what or how. In this way, I vote.
As a mother of four amazingly different and adorable teen boys I have chosen to enjoy being with my kids as much as possible, sharing all of my choices with them and teaching them through tough times (and there have been some challenging times!) rather than run to the doctor for a prescription. I have conferenced with teachers, changed schools, made supplement and dietary changes, chosen neurofeedback and play therapy for my almost autistic youngsters rather than medicate and run to doctors when we truly don't need to. Trauma and emergency care I love and admire. Medical maintenance not so much! In this way, I vote.
As the sister, daughter and mother of autism, and one who has been an active learner and volunteer in the graduation off the spectrum of all but one of the seven ASD folks in my family, I have started a Facebook page--Autism Answers--where I share all of the answers living with autism has challenged me to learn. Answers that have always made a bigger difference in my world than just with the autistic kids and adults I meet. I share play therapy tips and simple attitudinal shifts that can help families with disabilities feel like the expert in their own home, and keep money in their pockets. In this way, I vote.
Obviously, the list is never ending, and I'm sure you get my point. Politicians and policies are all about money. So I choose where my money goes and I think for myself. It's easier on the system if we stop thinking for ourselves because then it can just keep on keepn' on. But in truth, no one--not even politicians!--wants a world of unhappy zombies. It's our freedom, the one that we inherently have regardless of policies, the one that is our thoughts and passions, that we can vote loudest with. Those of you who are lucky enough to be able to vote for government officials, definitely do so!! I would if I could! But never underestimate the power of being comfortably yourself with volume!
I have four sons. Four young men whose lives I'm lucky to be a part of. And I am a very active part! Encouraging them to think for themselves, allowing them their (often very different from mine!) views and life choices, while expecting them to always be comfortably themselves. In this way, and for this freedom, I have voted loudest!