One woman’s cultural journey to the polls and how she worked towards change
BY MAAHUM CHAUDHRY
Every election, whether a ballot requires a few arrows to be connected or many, is an important election. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a small election because exercising the right to vote is a significant way to help influence the policies of where you live.
Of course, this year is no different, but I am glad to see that others have finally come to realize what I have strongly believed for most of my mature life.
In my eyes, the youth vote is one of the most important factors for any election and I am happy to find that many young people have finally found themselves to be citizens with the integral obligation to vote.
I only wish I was old enough to feed my very own crisp piece of paper into a ballot sucking machine as well.
Even though I’m not old enough to vote, I am still part of the change. I worked as a polling-place worker on the historic day of Nov. 4 2008.
Though I had worked as an election poll worker in previous years during high school for some cash and as an excuse to miss school, this year it was purely to ease my conscience in knowing that I was part of the difference.
I’ve always been motivated to exercise my right to vote, to proudly earn an “I Voted” sticker of my own instead of taking one of my parents’.
Largely, because I feel like there aren’t many people out there who I would trust to make decisions that shape my future. I’m entirely non-partisan, I don’t agree with the entire Democratic platform, nor do I despise everything Republicans stand for.
As a proud young American-raised Pakistani-Muslim self-declared feminist, I think I’d have some trouble finding an adequate person to represent my views.
As a women, I would consider myself a disgrace to my gender if I didn’t vote after all the sacrifices made by the women who have preceded my existence. As a child of an immigrant couple, I would consider myself to be a disgrace to my parents and all immigrants if I didn’t freely decide the government that is bound to impact some of the most prominent features of my life.
As a Muslim woman, I would consider it a shame to stay at home and give some credibility to the stereotype that I have no independent voice or mind of my own and am therefore not capable of voting.
So on Election Day, I proudly wore an all-American smile on my prominent Pakistani features with a Hijab, a Muslim headscarf, to ensure that my handing out of “I Voted” stickers made me a part of the difference.