I voted in the 2008 elections as I did in many before them and didn’t think that much about the process. At the time I hadn’t found a genre that I felt comfortable with and fiddled around with different ideas and emerged myself into the business of writing without committing to a specific story. By late 2009 I had settled into the historical genre. The journey and discovery of women in our American history became my passion. I couldn’t get enough and more research led to more discoveries of the many unspoken heroines long before my time. I fell in love with every one of them. I wanted to know them, to know more about them, to sit down in conversation and really listen to their words and feel the passion that drove them to do what they did – to be heard, to no longer stand two paces behind the men and remain silent. It was a long, difficult process that took a savvy group of smart, determined women many years to make my walk into the voting booth a reality.
In 2012 I voted and this time it had triumphant meaning. I could feel the energy of the ladies before me smiling, cheering me on as I walked each step into the voting polls and signed the voting roster.
I have made it no secret that I abhor politics. The bantering and judgement that goes with it irritates me. I grow tired of all the ads, and the words of others TELLING me what I’m supposed to think, who I’m supposed to like on voting day. Oh my gawd shut up! Now, I think back and bet the ladies who started it all in 1848 felt the same way. This I share with them and have to laugh at this connection I have with them. I bet they said the same as me, ‘shut up I’ll think the way I chose. It is not your decision it is mine and mine alone.’
So today even though the candidate I voted for didn’t win the election I am very proud that I have the opportunity to cast my vote and be counted in the historical making for the leader of our country. For that, I thank the ladies. For one who gets to hang out at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for another four years, and I didn’t vote for him the first time around either, the reality remains, no matter who gets to live in the historical home is going to screw it up according to one group and doing a fabulous job according to another. So on the subject of politics I remain silent. I don’t like anyone telling me what I’m supposed to think. It’s this time of year I don’t log into social media, watch very little news broadcasts and hurry to get past the headlines that dominate my home page. Some people say I keep my head in the sand. No, I just don’t make my views public. It’s a subject I don’t verbalize out loud.
As a country we embrace the process with passion and pride. Americans continue to exercise the right to speak and be heard whether we agree or disagree with the final decision. Just as our ancestors before us, politics are what this country was founded on and the root of our existence in this country. But… as I have said before and I say now, there is more in what we do in our lives on a day-to-day basis that do not involve politics just as the women before me. This is the basis of my research of women in American History. The strength we have, the passion we hold within us to know what needs to be done and we simply get it done.
Teresa L Watts, author of women in American History