I didn’t vote in 2016.

I can give you excuses. I have plenty. Polls showed my preferred candidate winning by a landslide. My state was set to back that candidate, too. The absentee voting process was too complicated. My schedule was too busy to take the time to learn how to navigate it.

Honestly, though, I just didn’t care.

I was in denial of how bad things could become. The country was doing pretty well from my point of view. Gay marriage was legalized, the Affordable Care Act (despite its flaws) was at least a step in the right direction and the economy was booming. No matter who won, there’s no way things would get significantly worse.

There are some that would say all the above are still true. To some extent, they are. Gay marriage is still legal (though discrimination against the LGBT+ community has been upheld over and over), the ACA is still around (though most of the good parts have been stripped and defunded) and the stock market is doing well (even if we’re seeing unemplyoment numbers reminiscent of the Great Depression).

I’m not going to list all the things that have gone wrong. Maybe the process is too complicated. Maybe I don’t care. But I want to emphasize that regardless of your point of view, you still need to vote. If you have an opinion, you need to express it. 

Trump won the state of Michigan by an average of two votes per precinct in 2016. Your vote matters. My vote matters.

It’s 2020, and now I’m exhausted. I’m tired of seeing those I love have their rights stripped from them. I’m tired of seeing my peers and mentors objectified and dehumanized by wide swathes of the country. I’m tired of seeing people filled with hate and bigotry, making exceptions for the people they know.

Request your absentee ballot. If you live nearby, get to your polling place. If you’re not registered, then get registered. 

You can give me excuses. You probably have plenty. But none of them are good enough to excuse four more years of this.