All over the internet today, people are telling you why they voted for their guy. I voted for my guy, you know who he is and I imagine you know why I voted for him. I’m blue almost to the bone although I refrained from voting for Mark Clayton because I would rather stab my eyeballs with flaming bamboo shards. (Really, Tennessee Democrats? Mark Clayton? FAIL.)

But what I want to talk to you about today is NOT who I voted for or why. It is why I VOTE, period.

First of all… I like to bitch. And if you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch. That’s just a given. I read an article earlier today about 10 famous people who don’t vote and it astounded me. INFURIATED me. Jim Lehrer. Keith Olberman. Nate Silver. Jake Tapper. I understand that these people think they should remain objective (Keith Olberman… snort… I love the guy but only because he’s on my team but objective? I think not…) but to forgo the privilege of voting in order to do so? No. I don’t buy it. Three and four star generals not voting? That blows my mind. You defend this country. You’ve built your life around that. FUCKING PARTICIPATE IN IT. You don’t have to tell a soul who you voted for. But to not vote at all… you’ve completely lost my respect.

(I don’t even know for certain who my husband voted for. I know he voted in the Republican Primary and I just made him promise me that he wouldn’t vote for Rick Santorum. But he voted. And that’s sexy.)

But most notably not on that list? Women. Reason two that I vote. I’m a woman and I can vote. That wasn’t always the way it was. Case in point? This picture making the rounds today…

The women who paved the way for me are my heroes. They were strong, vocal and determined. And to not vote is a slap in the face to all that they worked for. I use my vote to honor their struggles and their success. I use my vote to avenge the votes that they were denied.

And third… I vote for my grandfather. Papa Bill was passionate about politics. It energized him like nothing I’ve ever seen. Regardless of the election, local, state, national, didn’t matter. He was volunteering at the precinct across the street from his house. He traveled with the Clinton/Gore and the Gore/Leiberman campaigns. And even when he was very sick at the end of his life, he voted. He never missed an election and one of the things that he passed along to me was what a privilege and a gift it is to be able to vote. To make your opinion known. But it is also a responsibility. It is a call to educate yourself. To form your own opinions and to never be complacent. I’m sure he was thrilled that my political leanings mirrored his own but I’m confident that as long as I used a combination of my head and my heart to find my own way, he would have been proud of me regardless.

So I vote. I vote because it is my right, my privilege, my responsibility. It is my voice and it is the gift that the women who came before me bestowed upon me. I vote because to NOT vote is not an option.

Why do YOU vote?