If you are a woman, you should vote. You have only had this right for less than one hundred years. For the first 144 years of the United States existence as an independent nation, you were less than a human being. In some ways, you are still a second class citizen. You make less than men doing the same job. You are objectified and denigrated in pop culture, media, and by many men. Sometimes, you self-victimize. Crimes against you, particularly sexually related crimes, are not treated the same. You still live in a rape culture. But you can vote, you can help choose the path which will create a better future for women. You can still make a difference.
For the women who were beaten, assaulted, jailed, tortured so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a woman and a citizen - must vote. You just must.
If you are black, you should vote. If you are male, you garnered the "right" to vote with the passage of the 14th amendment in the mid 1800's, but you did not actually get to vote. If you are female, you didn't get the "right" to vote at all. And in all honesty, none of you got to vote until the mid 1960's. And it was still hard. You were treated as less than a human being. In some ways, you still are. You are routinely imprisoned at ridiculously higher rates than any other demographic, unfairly so. You are still living in a culture of poverty and routinely discriminated against. But you can vote, you can help choose the path your city, county, state, country takes. You can still make a difference.
For the men and women who were beaten, killed, assaulted, tortured so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a black citizen - must vote. You just must.
If you are Asian, you should vote. You were considered less than white men from the very beginning and even denied citizenship starting in 1790. While you could become citizens later on, if you were Chinese, you were once again excluded from being a citizen in the early 1880s, an act that wouldn't be repealed until the 1940s. You helped build the railroads, dig for gold, you helped make life easier for white men. If you were Japanese, and you were born in this country, you could not become native citizens until the 1950s. And you were treated as less than a human being. You are still stereotyped. But you can vote, you can help choose the path your children will take. You can still make a difference.
For the men and women who were denied legal entry into this country because of how they looked, were beaten and subjugated for being Asian or imprisoned unjustly so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as an Asian American - must vote. You just must.
If you are latino, you should vote. Even when you could vote, you couldn't because of government sanctioned literacy tests created to prohibit you, blacks, Asians and anyone "different" from infringing upon the white man. White legislators have tried for years to redistrict so that you would suffer. You are today judged for how you look and how you speak. You are assumed "illegal" until proven otherwise, and in some states, your rights can be legally over-ridden based on how you look or whether you happen to have your id on you or not.
For the men and women who rallied, were beaten, treated as "less than" so they could cast a vote the same as a white man, you - as a latino - must vote. You just must.
And if you are gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual, you should vote. You may have always had the right to vote if you happened to be a white man and kept your sexual identity hidden. You may not have because you were a woman or black or asian or latino. Now you fight for your identity to be legally and justly recognized as inherently worthwhile. You cannot legally marry in most states, and some states have tried and will continue to try to change their constitutions so that you can never do what heterosexual couples have the legal right to do. You are mocked, stereotyped, judged, and discriminated against across this nation - by your family, friends and people who know next to nothing about you. You are feeling so lonely, so judged, so hated that some of you are even taking your own lives because society still sees you, - a perfect, wonderful being- as sinful. But you can vote. You can help create a future that respects all American citizens and doesn't discriminate based on sexual orientation.
For the men and women who have been killed, who have killed themselves, who have been treated as less than so that you could live life with the same rights as a white man, you - as a gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual - must vote. You just must.
If you are a white man, you should vote. You have to make up a lot. You've always had the right to vote, to have your voice heard in every meaningful way. You have oppressed and disenfranchised every single demographic in this country. Every. Single. One. Some of you whine that you are now being oppressed and discriminated against - reverse racism is apparently everywhere, holding your poor white-maleness down. Hopefully, most of you realize the offensiveness of this suggestion. You've held the reins for a very long time in this country, and you can share. Really, it is okay. You can trust the rest of us, those you have helped hold down, to not do the same to you. You can help us create a better, more fair world. Some of you have fought tooth and nail to make this possible - the rest of you have to let that happen.
There is no reason not to vote. None. Get past the attack ads, the failing parts of our legislative system. Get over the feeling that nothing you do makes a difference. Just get over it. You are a member of a nation that allows its citizens to vote for change or to keep everything the same. You are not a member of a perfect nation - we still discriminate against each other, we still hate and judge and commit horrible acts of cruelty against one another.
I want to help change that. I will do it many ways. I will treat people kindly. I will act with compassion and integrity. I will be a part of the many solutions. I will speak up when I must, even if shackled with the chains of fear. I will do what I can, and the absolute easiest thing I can do is vote.
And you have no excuse not to.