This year’s vote is larger than it seems

I live for beginnings simply because I anticipate the evolution to their ends.

Five years ago, I started a new beginning and discovered a new identity. Today, the discoveries and revelations seem to come faster than assembly lines and hit me harder than the bus in “Mean Girls.” Yet sometimes I feel like I’m still waiting for my messiah; my liberator and annexationist from a lifestyle society has judged as “incorrect”.

However, I can’t wait forever for reassurance that can only come from myself. Reassurance that since my youth has been an intangible but long awaited decision, which bears advancement, optimism and acceptance. My first vote.

Personally, the upcoming election is more than just a trip to the voting booth and more than just a quadrennial political event. This is my first vote. However impractical it may sound or actually be, I feel as though I saved this vote. I wanted to save my vote for when I would be knowledgeable, passionate and motivated. Otherwise, does my vote really count? Technically my vote will be counted (perhaps not in Florida), but will it carry meaning? Call it greedy, but this election I’m voting for me.

This election could provide me with the opportunity to marry the man I will fall in love with, to send my children to a school where our battle is written in textbooks and to finally climb toward a sense of egalitarianism. It is not often that Americans are provided with the opportunity to participate in an election with such societal and cultural importance.

I can almost compare it to the apprehension behind the elections of former Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy: a segregated nation with the power to elect a president who had the capabilities to redeem and unify. Although I cannot attest to the hardships of the African-American community at that time, I can undoubtedly praise their efforts and henceforth learn. Yet almost 60 years after the revolutionary Brown v. Board of Education decision in which school segregation was deemed unconstitutional, our nation stands at a similar standstill but with a different group.

As somebody who isn’t a stalwart liberal or conservative, I find my political opinions to be a hodgepodge of red, green and blue.

Then again, America just saw its first African-American President express another first for the country: support for gay rights. Some people view this open declaration as a political strategy and some simply want to see the “talk” turn into action. Regardless, we overlook that nine million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples now have their first ever presidential ally. We overlook that an unknown, yet predictably extensive number (due to anonymity) of people in the Marines, Army and Navy no longer will be persecuted by their government for preferences over honoring one’s country. More importantly, we overlook that a generation of youth will be the progressive leaders of this country. Progressive only if society emphasizes ideas of equality and tolerance that have for some time been pending with importance. After all, for a nation that has turned the word “progressive” into a cliche, we sure have been pretty lazy.

I guess I was wrong when I said that I was being greedy in this election. Because in reality, I’m voting for equality and not just our next president. I’m voting for nine million people I barely know but have common goals and aspirations. Whether America is ready to embrace it, this is the residual battle that has been escalating since the black civil rights movement and women’s suffrage.

We are just another movement halted by insecurities and misconceptions and waiting to be relieved by another one of society’s great leaders such as the civil rights movement’s Martin Luther King Jr. and women’s suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony. As I have been holding onto my first vote like a lifeline on “Millionaire”, change is calling and I’m simply answering.

_Adam is a junior in ACES._