One thing you should know: I want you to vote. Yes, you. Even if you don't vote the way I wish you would, I still want you to vote.
Do I feel like my vote counts?
Not really. My state is heavily gerrymandered. I would feel more motivated if I thought it was a closer race. And I think a lot more people would vote if it were. "Hey, that elected official who's been pissing you off for three years? He won by 200 votes. You have more Facebook friends than that. You go to church with more people than that."
I keep thinking about the news when brexit was first a thing. The morning after was filled with people being quoted saying, "I never thought it would pass, so I voted for it," and, "I thought it was a joke, so I voted for it." And then it passed and it's been chaos since. Even if MY vote doesn't count, OUR votes definitely count. And that means all of us.
I hate being told what to do. (And yes, it's kind of meta that I'm telling you to vote.) I don't want someone making decisions for me without consulting me first. The "consultation phase" is the part where you vote.
I am also a big proponent of "speak up now or shut up later." I love to complain. I am justified in complaining when I did make my voice heard during the consultation phase. A decision was made that you didn't like? Huh. Did you have a chance to influence that decision? You did. Did you take that chance? No? Then siddown.
It's not just a right, it's a privilege. Plenty of people never get the chance to help choose their laws and leaders. Voting is like enjoying the sun on your skin while keeping your shut-in neighbor in mind. It's dancing for the joy of having a body to move.
Lastly, it's our duty. We get the gift of this beautiful thing that is America. And she's still beautiful, even today. But she's not a free gift. You have to opt-in every couple of years, or she will go away. And reader, I tell you, she is slipping away.
So, vote. Vote for your values. Vote for your kid who can't yet. Vote for yourself. Vote for America.