What My Vote Really Means

Today, Thursday, is my weekday off from clinic, and it’s also Massachusetts primary day. Thursday is an atypical voting day; usually Tuesdays are voting days, and as I’m on the train for work at six a.m., it’s difficult for me to get to the polls. So to have all day to vote? Awesome.

After dropping the kids at school and completing my morning shift at the animal shelter, I made my way to the elementary school gym and lined up with my fellow citizens. Today, for the first time, I recognized many of the names on the ballot. I even know some of these candidates. I’m not used to being up on local politics. 

But I thought about it: we moved here in 2009, so we’ve lived in the same place for seven years. That’s longer than either Hubby or I have lived in any one place, heck, any one state, since childhood. We’ve been able to put down some roots, which feels good. 

The guy who got my vote today is a neighbor who had gone out of their way to support one of our pet causes: the local animal shelter. (Pun intended.)

Our whole family has been working with the stray and abandoned animals at our small, ramshackle shelter for about four years. Last spring, Hubby and I organized a sports- themed fundraiser for the shelter’s desperately needed new building. Even though we had no idea what we were doing, and we’d given ourselves only about a months’ planning time, we raised two thousand dollars in two hours. 

Our neighbor had stepped up to help: he not only cheerfully participated in the weeknight cocktail hour/ meet-and-greet/ memorabilia auction, he had multiple family members in tow.

Standing there in the voting booth, I considered, and decided anyone who puts in that much effort for a teensy event for a small local charity on a random Weekday evening deserves my vote. Plus, he’s a nice guy. And, my mother reports that his candidate’s speech on local access TV was the best of the lot.

I definitely feel good about voting, not only as a means of celebrating our amazing right to vote, but also because I felt like in supporting our neighbor, it strengthened our newfound community bonds. 

Hubby and I know that if we had an opportunity to move to a different place, no matter what the material incentive (bigger house, quieter road, et cetera) we’ve already decided that we would never move. 

That’s what my vote today really meant. 

*addendum: the results are in, and our guy won!

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