Open Letter To Undecided Voters
It’s seventeen days until we choose to do something so right, yet something that feels so wrong. I’m talking about exercising our right to vote on election day.
Nineteen years ago I celebrated my eighteenth birthday. I made two wishes for this milestone birthday. One wish, was to be able to sleep in and the other wish was to register to vote. Being one of seven people in a small two bedroom home, I managed to do one of the two. I registered to vote!
A little bit of perspective. In 1975 my parents (fourteen and seventeen) left their familiar poverty and homes to risk their lives for a chance at a better, but very unknown future. My dad would begin his journey with a human smuggler, riding in the trunk of a four door sedan. Recently, I asked him about this journey and he shared something I had never known before. He said, “I was so naive, I rode in the back and chose to lay closest to the exhaust pipe of the vehicle. I thought it would provide me with the best air. I didn’t know it was poison I was inhaling.”
My father became a citizen in 2001 and that same year he called me to discuss candidates, propositions and the issues. He trusted my opinion and I did my part to sway his mind and vote as best I could. A few of years later I waited for his call and it never came. I thought it was just an oversight on his part and called him the day before the election, ready to discuss the candidates, propositions and issues. My mom answered the phone and when I asked to speak to my dad, she said words I was not prepared to hear, she said, “He already voted.” I have to be honest, when I heard this I was heartbroken. You know, the kind of heartbreak experienced by parents when their children do the right thing without them. He had become an informed voter.
I laughed. I cried. He was growing up as a citizen in this (his) beloved country and took this responsibility very seriously. My father is a quiet man, authoritative when needed, hardworking and honest. One of the few people I know who voraciously reads the newspaper. He pays his taxes and follows the laws even when nobody’s looking.
I consider my father a hero for what he has become in the midst of his past circumstances. He considers me his hero for what I am becoming in my present circumstance. The truth is, no one can make me think either candidate is a hero.
In my small way I wanted to bring honor to this process. The process of choosing. I wanted to have a peace that passed the understanding for my vote. I will be voting in the election and the only way I know how to do it honorably is to ask the most honorable man I know. My father. Years ago he would ask me how he should vote. This year, I’m calling him. My Father, who has sacrificed more than I can ever begin to understand to earn the right to vote. This year I am voting with him and it will be the #BestVoteEver.