There was a time when I felt like my vote didn't matter. It doesn't matter- it's out of our hands. The "Powers that Be" control our fate. But the morning after the 2016 election, I woke up and felt the wave of despair that rolled across the country as Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Presidential race. And since then, I've seen how the Trump presidency has negatively affected us and decreased our standing on the world stage. In more recent weeks, I've seen the lengths that Republicans have gone to in order to suppress voting (votes are lost or not counted, polling machines are "broken" and switch Democratic selections to Republican ones) and the depths that some of their proponents have gone to in order to demean Democratic opponents.
So I voted this year. Beto O'Rourke may or may not win, but I have made my voice heard. I have voted for the direction in which I want my state to go, a direction in which I want my country to go- one of compassion, one of unity for people of all colors and creeds, one that works to right injustices instead of just paving over them with empty rhetoric. I'm voting against everything that the current administration stands for- the ignorance, the pettiness, the fear-mongering, the hatred, the divisions.
As I type, the votes are rolling in and the winners are being announced- I can't even watch. But whether my candidate wins or not, I will be there again at the next election to cast my vote. And the next. And the next. Because I've learned my lesson- democracy lives only as long as we support it.