Today we can take our power back. If you vote.
By now you’ve been bombarded with messages about what’s at stake this midterm election from artists like me, candidates running for office, community leaders, schools, places of worship and every news outlet in existence. Let’s not forget the constant stream of posts in your Instagram feed and Twitter timeline.
I have come to reinforce that message. This will be one of the most important elections of our lifetime. But here’s the thing: every election is. We’ve forgotten the power of the ballot box and we’ve ended up in a cycle of only voting every four years for the President...or just not voting at all. The truth is, we as a civilization depend on each other to survive. The fundamental question I challenge us all to ask is: do we feel a responsibility to help one another, especially those who may not be as privileged as us? If that answer is “Yes!” then I highly recommend casting your vote as way to help elect someone who believes in this too.
To sustain a democracy and a country that reflects our values we can’t afford to sit out. In fact, we lose out every time we miss the hard-won privilege of making our vote count. We allow someone else to make choices for our lives, our bodies, our children and our communities. No more. We must take to the polls in great numbers and vote.
You told us we hold these truths to be self-evident
That all men and women are created equal
That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights
Among these: life, liberty, and the, and the pursuit of happiness
Dirty Computer, Janelle Monae
Every election those who seek to control your future are banking that you stay home. Hoping that you feel cynical, discouraged and confused about the process, because if you do they remain in control. We know voter suppression diminishes our voice. They’ve made it harder to vote - with voters being kicked off rolls for stupid things like a misspelling. So ask yourself, If our vote didn’t matter why are they trying so hard to suppress it?
They know your vote is powerful. The fact that they go through such great lengths to keep you from voting only confirms that. I am here to reaffirm the power you have to make a difference today. This is not about shaming anyone to the polls today. I know life is busy, complex and full of ups and downs. I also understand how intimidating the entire process can be and that sometimes we doubt our ability to make these critical decisions. We’ve all been there.
It’s also frustrating that progress can be slow on the things that affect our daily lives. And the daily chorus of craziness, instability and meanness that dominates American politics is beyond frustrating. Just when I feel like it might be time to shut it out, I turn to music. I am passionate about using my voice. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. It is my power. And no matter the obstacles thrown my way or how frustrating things can get I will not allow anyone to speak for me and neither should you.
I’m taking my power back every time I go to the polls.
My music is an ode to the beauty, power and complexity of women. It’s also for anyone who has ever felt overlooked or forgotten for being their authentic self. It’s meant to remind us that our differences and diversity as a people are our strength and that we all should be honored and celebrated.
Women have always been the key to healing this country and it’s time that those leading our country respect us and reflect our values. As we are the greatest influencers to our family and friends we cannot allow them to fall for the lie that their voice doesn’t matter. We know it does.
There is still time to make a plan to vote today and make sure that those close to you, your family and friends, have a plan to vote.
I want you to reach out to at least five people in your life, in your family, at your school, your place of worship, wherever. Just pick at least five people from your life for your Voting Squad. Then do whatever it takes to get them to vote. Put everybody on a text chain. You can push them to WhenWeAllVote.org to get all the information they need to know - the when, where and how to vote. Then post group photos on Instagram and Facebook and tag each other. Lastly don’t forget to sign your squad up at WhenWeAllVote.org/squad. And then get to the polls TODAY!
Let’s hold them all accountable. This democracy doesn’t work without you. Vote like your life and liberty and the values of this great nation depend on it. Because they do.