Rock Your Vote

My mom is incredibly politically active. Ever since I can remember, my mom was talking to us about politics, buying political magnets and t-shirts and then, of course, the good ol’ political bumper stickers. I grew up in a very conservative neighborhood in Texas, where democrats were far and few between and republicans won the elections by a landslide. So, during my teenage years, my mom’s politics were a great source of embarrassment.

Like most teenagers, I just wanted to fit in, and riding around in a car with 4 liberal bumper stickers plastered on the back was not helping me do so. I begged my mom to take them off, “mooommmmm!! They are so embarrassing and NOT necessary. Everyone here is a republican anyway, you’re not going to change their minds!” She would usually reply with “I’m not expecting to change their minds, Bianca, I just want to express my views.”

I dealt with the bumper stickers, and when I started driving I couldn’t have been more thankful they were magnetic… I took them off every time I drove her car. Then my senior year in high school came around, and my US government class just so happened to coincide with the primaries. Mostly to spite my parents, I supported Republicans for the local elections and didn’t even pay attention to the Presidential primaries because they were only for the democrats. This lasted for a few weeks until I started really paying attention. I actually read the news in the morning; I listened intently to our class lectures and actively participated in the in class debates… and I started realizing I was supporting the wrong candidates and causes. It wasn’t until I fully understood the issues and candidates that I was able to make my own decision… not my mom’s, not my classmates’ but my own.

I’m no longer embarrassed by my mom’s politics, nor her choice to display them, because she understands and believes in the messages she’s displaying. I consider myself an independent and I have voted for candidates with both political parties, but I will never cast an uninformed vote. Cool t-shirts, or witty bumper stickers should never be a reason to support a candidate or an issue, just as it shouldn’t be reason not to. I have so many friends that vote only for republicans or only for democrats, because that is what they grew up around (don’t get me started on the ones who don’t vote at all). We are given the right to vote as an adult, not as a kid who has to do everything their parents tell them. Listen to what the candidates have to say, research their political history and background, research the issues that matter to you so you can fully understand them. Your vote counts, so you should make sure it’s the right one.