Now, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for.
It should come as no surprise who I will be voting for. #ImWithHer. #ImWithHerAF. #couldiBEanymoreWithHer? I don't find Hillary Clinton to be "the lesser of two evils," and I'm not voting for her reluctantly or supporting her with my fingers crossed behind my back wishing she were someone else. I'm voting for her because I find her enormously well qualified, because I believe her when she claims to be a true public servant, and because her policies align both with my views and with the future I want to see for our country over the next four years. I like her.
(I like her so much, in fact, that I'm going to see her at a rally slash James Taylor concert tomorrow night down the street from my house two days before the election. Living in New Hampshire in an election season might be the best thing that's ever happened to me.)
And yes, I am terrified of the alternative. Setting aside the Stein and Johnson tickets for merely statistical reasons (and also because, like, come on), the remaining viable candidate is not what I want for our country. I disagree with his policies, I don't find him qualified or temperamentally suited for the office he is seeking, and, like, come on.
But you don't have to agree with me. That's the thing about America: we're allowed to disagree with each other. And we get the opportunity to get out there and voice those disagreements with our votes.
That's why I'm writing this, folks.
I don't care who you vote for on Tuesday. I just want you to vote.
Not everyone gets this opportunity! This is a cool thing we get to do!
So is voting, Marnie. So is voting.
It is pretty awesome that we get to engage in the political process and cast a vote for the way we want our future to go. If you're casting your ballot for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, you're showing the nation that third parties are worth considering. If you're voting for Donald Trump, sure, I'd encourage you to take a hard look at why — but that vote is still cool, because you've chosen a candidate and you're getting out there and committing to it.
"But Sarah," you say, "I don't like any of the candidates, so the country's doomed anyway!"
You know how you can prevent future doom? By participating. The more that we get out there and show that we don't just talk or complain about government but play an active part in its shaping, the more likely it is that future politicians will more closely reflect our wants and needs. It's hard for our leaders to respond to an electorate who only say what they want in a group message or a tweet, or worse, who complain without saying what they want at all.
"But Sarah," you say, "I'm just sick of it and want it to be over!"
Well, it's gonna be over, hopefully sometime in the middle of the night on Tuesday. At least those of us who vote can say we had a say in this year-long reality-TV-style torture session. If you stay home, you subjected yourself to the past 12+ months of news for nothing.
"But Sarah," you say, "I'm not voting for either of those jokers for president, and that's that."
My stubborn friend, did you know there are — gasp — other positions being determined in this election?
Sure, the president may not affect you personally all that often. If you're determined not to have a say in the presidential election, I can at least in theory understand how you can justify that you're unlikely to be affected by either outcome. But the further down the ballot you read, the closer to your life you get. Perhaps you have a congressional race to vote for. Perhaps your state's electing a governor. Maybe you're due for a new mayor, or some school board members, or a freakin' county clerk. Those races will be decided on Tuesday, too, and you owe it to those candidates (and yourself!) not to let frustration with the top ticket get in the way of having a say in the smaller ones.
So, if you haven't cast your ballot already, get out there and vote on Tuesday. I will be at my polling place when it opens at 6 a.m. Then I will sit at work for the day alternating between occasional actual work, existential dread, and toggling between several dozen browser tabs of election coverage. And then, I will be glued to my TV, sparkling fruit wine and dark chocolate peanut butter cups in hand, from the second I get home from work until the second Wolf, Anderson and the gang officially declare whether I'll be resting easy in the land of my girl Hill or taking a sudden interest in how all of my business associates in Ireland have been lately.
If you don't know where you vote, you can find out here. There have also been polling place finder tools on Facebook, and many states also have sample ballots available online so you can scope out who's running for the lower-profile races in your area. If you type your home address into Uber on Tuesday, they'll look up your polling place for you and let you book a trip straight there with the touch of a button. The resources available to help you do your civic duty are pretty remarkable. Take advantage of them.
Oh, and if you're a teenager reading this and just thinking, "-_____-", two things:
1) There's always next year! (Somebody had to steal that phrase now that the Cubbies aren't using it, amirite? Heyo sports!)
2) Sixteen-year-old me campaigned door-to-door for Obama on Election Day 2008. (Yes, friends, I've always been like this.) If the rules are the same as they were then, Logansport schools may even give you an excused absence for election volunteering. It's last minute, but see what options are out there! And, at the very least, if the 2016 election cycle made you excited or angry or had you wishing you could vote this year, bottle that passion up and remember it for the next time around.
It's the home stretch, y'all. Go vote.