By Maddy Baldwin
The Week Before:
Well we are here, at the final countdown. Honestly I am not sure if I am counting down to a detonation or New Years day. On the morning of November 9th what America will be waking up to? Either way there will be those who feel triumphant, a campaign won, but what about us who have been riding the fence the whole time? What about us who felt a little worry and shame putting our absentee ballot in the mail or leaving the voting booths? What will we feel when we see our red, white, and blue waving in the air?
Now I can not tell you what to feel or how you feel, but I am going to tell you how I believe you should feel. If you struggled during this election, debated what you believed in, read the facts, fought for someone you believe in whether it was Hillary or Trump, and you voted, then you should feel proud. No matter what is to come from our future president, you should be proud that you voted. That you fought for and voiced your freedom. Because at the end of the day no matter if on November 8th we vote Republican or Democratic, on November 9th we wake up American, and having the freedom to vote for what/who we believe in is one of the most important things that makes us Americans. So wake up with pride, not hate or shame, be proud of our beautiful country. Be proud, even though the election was nasty and challenging, that we even had one. Be proud that “we the people” have a voice in who leads us, be proud of the men and women who fought for our freedom to vote and that we honored their battle by voting.
I want to say that no matter if we wake up saying Mr. or Madam President-Elect I am proud of y’all. I am proud to be an American, because it means that you all are a part of the “we the people” and I am proud to stand with y’all. I am proud of the fights we have had over politics, I am sorry for the friendships that were harmed or lost due to difference of opinion and beliefs, but I am proud of the discussions between friends, strangers, and family. I am proud of y’all for struggling, for being uneasy, because that means you were doing it right and you were caring. Come November 9th I will be proud of being American but I will also be proud of who our president is, because I respect and honor y’all’s voice, and if the majority believes in one person I believe in the people who cared enough to put them in office. The election process is not meant to divide us as people, but instead it is meant to unite us as Americans, please remember that. Please remember that we all are “we the people” and we should stand united together proud to be Americans.
Now, I have voted, my absentee ballot went into the mail yesterday. Honestly, I did not feel relieved, I felt panic. But about an hour later of pacing and almost taking it out of the mail a few times, I was proud that I voted, that I exercised my freedom. I really still don’t know the best choice, I wish I did, I wish I could tell you that I was 100% sure my vote was for the right person, but I can not. And I think that is the biggest lesson I have learned from this campaign and from writing this blog for y’all. We don’t need to get involved or start paying attention in the final months of the campaign when we are down to two options, we need to be equally involved the whole time, all of us, so that we actually elect who we want, and not the better of two evils. This campaign has hopefully taught us all how important it is to pay attention and to get involved, because our voice and vote is what holds the power so we need to use it to get the best person for America and not compromise for the best of the worst.
Now I am not going to reveal who I voted for, and that might upset some of you, but that was not the point of me writing this. The point was to show y’all my struggle and decision making process, not who the final decision was. I wanted y’all to think and debate who fit what you wanted most, not for my opinion to sway you or make you choose Hillary or Trump. Like I have said many times before the most important part of all of this, to the country and to me, is that you voted, that you made your decision and acted upon it. It is not important if we voted for the same or opposite people, it is just important that we voted. I also want y’all to know, you are never required to tell anyone who you voted for, that is a choice between you and yourself only. So go vote and be proud that you have! And may the Force be with all of us on November 8th.
Maddy Baldwin is a Junior Psychology major, from Gainesville, Georgia, and is minoring in Gender Studies. She is the Vice President of FEMISS, a chapter of the Feminist Majority here on the Ole Miss campus. She also writes poetry and opinion pieces.