Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"I Made a Difference, So Can You"

Today's election is particularly important to me.  Important enough to make me wake up an hour early, drive down to the rec center (which I've never been to) and vote all by myself.  I know that seems like no big deal to you, but to me and my anti-social anxious side, it is.  In prior elections I've always had a voting buddy, either my HLP or Antoine.  But since Antoine's in Chicago and Amanda is in Cleveland, this year I flew solo.  But this election was more than just about about voting without a buddy, it also marked some other big steps in my journey as a voter.   See, every other election I've ever voted in was a presidential election...the big stuff (or so I thought).  And in the past I've never been one to research issues or candidates at all really.  In fact, in all prior elections, my ballot has been nearly empty.  Sad and embarrassing, I know!

So what changed, you might ask?  What made this election different?  Issue 2.  Issue 2 lit a fire under my ass and motivated me.  Issue 2 has been the first thing on a ballot to directly affect me.  Sure, whoever becomes president/congressmen/senator/mayor/etc does affect me, but not in the real, direct, immediate way that Issue 2 does.  See, I'm part of a union, as are many many people at the university and many people in Ohio for that matter, including police officers, firefighters, steel workers, etc.  And for us, Issue 2 (aka Senate Bill 5) is poison.  In fact, my contract has been put on hold for months now because of it, thus holding up my measly little cost of living increase that I get every year (and look forward to) and threatening my relatively cheap and quality healthcare.  This is the way I look at it, as a state employee I make less than someone who does my exact job but works in the private sector (I'm talking at least $2-$3 less an hour) and so my excellent healthcare is the main draw to my job, it's what makes my job worth it (besides the fact that I love my job).  It balances out my pay with my expenses/bills/loans.  My inexpensive healthcare pretty much allows me to do the job I love and pay my massive student loans while also allowing me to have enough left over for things like food, heat, electricity, etc.   {P.S. those campaign commercials that are pro-Issue 2 and say that WE are taking advantage and raking in the money at your expense are a LOAD OF CRAP.  Exhibit A: my car...a 1993 Toyota Camry that is literally sounds like a jet.  Yeah, I think if I were taking advantage of the state and other Ohioans I would at least buy myself a new car.  Just sayin'!}

So, yeah, that's why I voted this morning.  Having an issue on the ballot that so directly affects me has been an inspiring thing!  It has motivated me to actively research the other issues on the ballot this year (and make a post-it note full of no's and yes' next to all the issue numbers...yeah, I did that!); a first for me.  And I feel great that I did it!  It felt awesome to turn in that ballot this morning knowing that most of it was filled out...not with random guesses, but educated and firm decisions.  It felt like I was voting for the first time.

 Yay voting!!

My post voting celebration coffee (I might have been a little overzealous in my waking up early to vote and had way too much time to spare before work!  But I got coffee, so it's okay!!)

Remember to get out there today and vote!  And for all you Ohioans, I wholeheartedly encourage you to vote NO on Issue 2!

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