What has voting come to?

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When I was a boy,
my father used to tell me to stand by what I believe.
When I was a boy,
my father would tell me that anyone could make a change
by doing something that didn’t seem big.
When I was a boy,
he told me to grow up well, marry, have kids,
and tell them the same.
And I did it – I did what he said, and it got me by.
But today I vote, and I say what I want.
Today I vote, and I’ll do what I want.
I’ll make a difference, make a change,
I’ll put a check next to that name.

I’m gon’ vote to change the world,
I’m gon’ vote today.
I’m gon’ vote, and that’s risking my life,
As a free man, once a slave.
Dem white folks told me not to—
Dey say because I’m black.
Dey told me, “leave it up to us,”
Dey say because I’m black.
But I’m leavin’ dat behind me,
I’m not gon’ show my fear,
I’ll make a difference, make a change,
I’ll put a check next to that name.

I always wished for courage.
for leadership.
for bravery.
I always wished to be Susan B. Anthony,
I wanted to be like Francis Wright.
With unfailing strength,
they paved the way
so that right now, today,
I don’t have to be brave.
Because I’m a woman with rights like the men.
We always knew this would happen,
we just didn’t know when.
Now it’s1920,
And I’m one woman of many
With a voice.
With a choice.
And a cause to rejoice.
I’ll make a difference, make a change,
I’ll put a check next to that name.


Sweaty palms grasp my freedom,
a piece of my country’s future—
my ballot, my hope, my democracy.
I watch people disappear behind a cardboard screen,
mark a check unseen,
and with an air of pride, leave.
It comes my turn, and I shake inside,
And my heart keeps on beating to a rhythm of pride,
And I picture my index finger in purple ink,
And I’m so full of freedom, I can hardly think.
So I leave my statement, I leave my mark.
I hope to bring light that replaces this dark.
I’ll make a difference, make a change,
I’ll put a check next to that name.

I grew up to lectures in history class,
learning voting requirements aren’t far back in the past.
But when I strolled in nonchalantly to vote first thing today,
I didn’t think much of the price that was paid,
It wasn’t that important,
and I didn’t think twice.
I just strolled in, made a change-
Put a check by a name.





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