At our last stop on the New England Della Mae tour we were booed onstage.
We weren't talking politics, though we do reserve that right.
We were talking about how important it is to vote.
That moment shocked me. I was confounded that someone would speak out publicly against a civic duty that is a precious part of being an American.
Since that night I've been thinking about all the reasons I AM going to vote.
And you better believe I'm about to tell you.
I am a Democrat. If you aren't, that's ok. Read on, then talk to me. Problems at the magnitude of what we're experiencing in the U.S. today can't be solved by screaming at one another or wearing out the “unfriend” button (I am learning from past transgressions). If you want to read what I believe in and then talk to me about your life and why you might believe something different, PM me.
I bet we have more common ground than you think.
I VOTE because I believe in a woman's right to choose what is best for her health, her future and her family. That choice should not be in the hands of the government. It should be in the hands of a healthcare professional.
I VOTE because I have used “Romney Care” in Massachusetts when I was a penniless budding musician. It saved my voice, it saved my career. I would not exist as a musician without it.
I VOTE because I have seen firsthand what an opiate addiction is. People with addictions are not monsters. They are people with a sickness that can be cured with compassion, rehabilitation and medication. These humans will not be cured with tougher jail sentences.
I VOTE because Black Lives Matter. Though I come from the whitest states in the country I try to educate myself on what it is like to live in a black body in these United States. Hint: it is not the same as living in a white body. Too many young black men have died needlessly at the hands of police. I have a lot of respect for men and women in law enforcement, but they have innate biases like the rest of us. We need to examine those biases and our police training practices so that we can make the right call in stressful situations.
I VOTE because it is not my business if you love someone with the same private parts as you. I'm just happy you love someone, period. Go forth.
I VOTE because empathy needs to have a home in the United States again. For one moment, put yourself in the shoes of a refugee. Imagine you're a parent with nowhere to go to escape violence. Wouldn't you do anything to keep your kids alive? Like even walk thousands of miles to beg for amnesty at the border of another country? Try for a moment to stop being suspicious of all the “other” people in the world. One bad apple does not represent the rest of the religion, color or cohort.
I VOTE because I believe there should be tougher restrictions on firearms. I have two and I'm not going to take them out of their lock box until I know how to use them properly. It is clear to me that we have a problem in the US. We can come at it from many angles; mental health and gun restrictions, but we need to come at it before it happens again. I will vote for candidates who will take swift action.
I VOTE because I have broken bread with Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Indians, Pakistanis, Russians, Saudi Arabians, Bosnians, Republicans, Democrats, Transgender people and Queer people. All of these people want the same things: food on the table, a good job, affordable healthcare, education and housing and safety from those who would harm or oppress them.
Don't you want those things too?
Please. Try to reach out to people who have differing opinions than you. Their lives have shaped their opinions.... learn about their lives. Ask, questions, listen and for the love of god don't write in all caps. Aren't we all just bumbling around on this giant rock trying to figure out what the hell we're doing? A little inquisitiveness, empathy, and conversation could really help us come out of this maelstrom of hate.
Also, no matter which way. Please, VOTE.