I’m 28, this means I’ve voted twice in my lifetime. I pride myself on voting for person and not party, and I’ve never felt as if I’ve thrown my vote away. I’m always well represented, and when there are issues in my area, it’s fixed – regardless of who my Member of Parliament is. I realize this isn’t the case for everyone.
I’m also a political student for life – this means although I’ve obtained a BA in political science, the teachings of my professors didn’t stop at university. When I entered life outside college, it continued, and carries on. Because of this, I tend to take my democratic right to vote very seriously. It is one of many things I love about being a Bahamian, and yet, at the same time, it’s one of the few reasons I loathe being a Bahamian.
When you vote in this country, it seems as if that ‘x’ aligns you for life – no matter how secret the process is supposed to be. Things you do or say tend to be disregarded based on who you may have voted for at some time or another. Or, maybe because I’m a woman, sometimes it’s so easy for men to be condescending to me. I did say, after all, I was in the Bahamas.
Voting, in my opinion, is like having sex. Where my vagina is and who it frolics with is quite frankly none of your business. You don’t have the right to disrespect me because my views are different from yours or because I align with a party that you think is nonsense. Nobody has a right to place me in a box, and when the contents of my own box happens to be something you’re not particularly pleased with, hurl demeaning insults at me. As it stands, who I voted for in the past or aligned myself with, has nothing to do with my actions as a human being. If I fail to meet your expectations of me, I am terribly sorry; but I assure you it has nothing to do with me being too much of anything other than a human.
Because we Bahamians tend to allow ourselves to be defined by three colours, we think it’s okay to label others and forcefully align them with a party that they don’t particularly affiliate themselves with.
A few years back, I was super political – you knew who I supported and you couldn’t say anything wrong about the political party I chose to support. If I could reach back in time, I would grab my younger self by her ponytail and drag her back to her senses. Even though I regret none of the experiences, I regret making it so public.
Years later, when I’m fighting to find reasons to register to vote because our current government is the worse I ever thought I would be around to witness, it enrages me that people I once respected continuously seek to put me in a box.
I fight with myself constantly for placing my thoughts of our current government on Facebook for everyone to see because I am my brand, and this is a country you do not want to be seen publicly siding with anyone in. I fight myself daily, trying not to type a whirlwind of curse words for everyone to see. Even though I’m frustrated, I know the political atmosphere in my country, first hand. I need to be able to survive, I cannot be singled out, eventually having to go overseas to survive. I’ve learned a lesson very few can tell you about. I’ve also learned a lesson that has matured me politically.
This lesson won’t weaken my opinion or subdue my passion. But this lesson forces me to make smart decisions not only for my family but for my brand. However, as mature as I am, that will never stop me from telling you my democratic right to vote is my own and it is not up for debate. If you hurl an insult at me, I will fight back because I have the right to vote for whomever I want regardless of your opinion.