The value of the private vote during this election season


Graphic by Carrie Clowers '18

Graphic by Carrie Clowers '18

Someone recently asked me who I was voting for in this year’s elections. I knew they were a die-hard Bernie fan and I didn’t really feel like having a political debate so I told them that I wasn’t sure yet. I wasn’t going to lie to them and say I “felt the Bern” or even find common ground hating Donald Trump. However, they demanded to know how I did not know yet. They also went on to say how there wasn’t even a choice and how me not answering must mean I’m voting for Trump. 

My attempt to avoid a political conversation had blown up in my face and I had to scramble to defend myself. The next time someone asked me a similar question — this time from a Trump fan — I said I didn’t really want to talk politics. They jumped at the chance to accuse me of voting for Hillary, and I, once again, found myself on the defense. 

When we vote in November, our votes will be anonymous. There is a reason we don’t write our names on our ballots: because it’s nobody’s damn business. 

In times past, it used to be that there were things you don’t talk about in polite company, such as, politics, finances and religion. But I’ve found that those simple etiquette rules are breaking down. Maybe it’s the rise of social media and technology: the constant stream of Facebook and Twitter posts or the nonstop barrage of news outlets covering politics that make us feel like we are entitled to an opinion on someone else’s political views. 

I’m not above this judgement: I’ve left Tinder dates when I’ve found out that they support Trump’s wall. But just because I do it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do either. 

I’m not usually shy about my political opinions. I have a shirt from a company called Future Female Leaders that says “Getting on my soapbox is my cardio.” Being from a D.C. suburb with two journalists as parents, politics is pretty much in my bloodstream. 

Some people aren’t like me though. Not everyone reads all the political headlines before getting out of bed in the morning. Not everyone thinks that their opinion makes a difference and that there’s reason to talk about politics all the time. Not everyone feels comfortable disagreeing with others, even if they have strong opinions. 

And you know what? That’s totally fine. 

I’ve really become aware of many people asking others the pretty personal question of who they will be voting for. And then, if they don’t get the “right” answer or an answer at all, they get upset. They get offended and go on the attack. This needs to stop. We — myself included — are not owed anyone’s personal political stances. If someone chooses to engage in a political conversation or debate, more power to them. But if they don’t consent to a debate, attacking or harassing them is wrong. Assuming their answer is wrong. It is not our right totry to educate those that we deem ignorant. 

We aren’t entitled to know who people are voting for. Like I said, it’s nobody’s damn business.