It’s not often that you get an idea that might change the world, and you actually have the capability to do it. I have a baby girl (my first) coming in less than one (1!!!) week so my brain has been going a million miles an hour and wrestling with the question: “What have I done to improve this place?”. I have recently lost my faith, but I have decided to be a moral person, so how do I manifest this morality in a way that improves the world for my daughter? A few weeks ago, I found an answer to this question.
Hair-brained idea: Make a sign that says “I have traveled the world and I believe that the American vote is the most CONSEQUENTIAL vote on Earth. PROVE ME WRONG.” Go on campus (I’m a grad student at CSUF), and use the signs to chat with students and convince them to vote. I am so burnt out and discouraged about everything happening in the US, I felt like doing something outside of the box was the only way to make a difference. The likelihood of failure was high, but I took the risk and did it anyway.
Meekly, I found a spot and put out my signs at an area with pretty good foot traffic (thank you very much to my friend who came out for moral support). I thought I would be chatting to an apathetic and disconnected generation, but most of the people I spoke to were engaged. A lot of people including a cop gave a smile and a thumbs up. As expected some of my conversations spiraled into crazy tangents, but overall I managed to deliver my message that voting is important. I made the points of how close the Fullerton race for US Congress was, but my closing argument was this: The US government is the most powerful man-made entity on Earth, our military and economic power is completely dominant, we are accountable to no one… except the American voter. To willingly give up your seat at that table is absolutely foolish.
It worked. The 39th district was only called today. Nearly two weeks after the election, the democrats had earned another victory, since its inception the 39th has been completely dominated by republicans. Cisneros won by a mere 3000 votes. That means the 20 people I engaged and nudged toward voting were in there. In marketing there is a familiar trope: one must see something seven times before one buys the message, I was honoured to be one of those seven voices, and play my part in the outcome of this election.
I applaud you foot soldiers who were canvassing for Gil, thanks for dropping by my neighborhood and knocking on doors, you did it! Those of you who wrote hand-written postcards, awesome work, you changed the world with those hand-cramps! There were many more of you having the difficult conversations with friends and siblings and coworkers to convince them that missing this vote is a mistake. All of us together: We did it. Orange county just locked arms and declared in one voice “ENOUGH!” We want accountability in Washington and we just sent the leaders to Washington to make it happen.
I think some of you out there will dismiss me for being too idealist, that this midterm victory in Orange County is not that big of a deal, this is not what ‘saving the world’ looks like (There’s the illustration of the kid throwing sea stars back into the sea that’s as trite as can be). Well I just want to circle back to the shitty signs I drew: American votes are the most consequential on Earth, and what we decided in this county ripples to every continent on Earth. I can safely say that myself and my friends literally did save the world.
I applaud you, all of Orange County. You made me proud to be an American today.