As I sit down to write this column, the second day of early voting in Texas has come to an end, with record numbers of Texans already having gone to the polls. I haven’t voted yet as I write this, but by the time you read this, I will have. I don’t imagine I have to tell you how I voted, and I am not going to tell you how you should vote. I am going to tell you that I did vote, and I am going to tell you — ask you, beg you — to please go and vote.

As U.S. citizens, voting is our duty, our responsibility and our privilege. Voting is our voice, and we have to make sure our voices are heard. We have to know that our voices matter.

How often do you hear someone say that they don’t bother to vote because it isn’t going to make any difference, that one vote doesn’t matter.

I’ve heard, and I am sure you’ve heard it too: “Well, you know, I am a Democrat. And I live in Texas. And the Republicans always win Texas. And thanks to the Electoral College, because the Republicans win the state, my vote just doesn’t count.”

But that, you see, is what you call a self-fulfilling prophecy: You can’t win, so you don’t vote. And because you don’t vote, you can’t win.

We have to break that cycle.

Like I said, I am not going to try to tell you how you should vote. But I am going to tell how I am voting — and why. I’m telling you not to try and change your mind or your vote, but just to explain to you the reason for my vote.

I am voting for Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president — not because they are Democrats, but because I believe they are decent, dedicated people who know how the business of government should work. I believe they will do their best to make the government work better for all of us, not just for the benefit of a few.

I am voting for the Biden/Harris ticket because I believe those two candidates actually care about me — well, ok, not me personally, but people like me. My community. Are they are not the perfect candidates for the LGBTQ community? No. I mean, if Biden and Harris were the perfect candidates for the LGBTQ community, then the LGBTQ community would have backed them en masse from the very beginning.

But see, that’s the thing about politics and politicians: There is no perfect candidate. Ever. Because all candidates are only human, and all humans are flawed.

But while there are no perfect candidates, there are definitely some perfectly awful candidates. And this year, we have the most awful of them all running for president against Joe Biden. I know what you are thinking: “Stop being such a drama queen,” right? I mean, there are probably even some folks who may not be Trump fans who still think he can’t be as bad as all that. But he is. He really is that awful in so many, many ways.

Trump is awful because he doesn’t know how government works, and he doesn’t care. He just bulls his way through everything, focusing just on what he cares about — things that will bring him and his family and his friends money, things that will bring him attention and what he sees as adoration, things that he thinks make him look and feel powerful.

And everything else that a true leader is supposed to pay attention to, the things that really matter, he ignores. He leaves those things to others who have used their sway over him to create and implement a system that benefits them, to the detriment of the rest of us. The “rest of us,” by the way, includes me and my communities.
We as LGBTQ people — and as Black people, as Indigenous people, as people of color, as women — have fought forever to reach a level of equality that will let us live, at the very least, safely and with some chance at satisfaction and happiness. We have fought all our lives, as did those that came before us, and we are fighting still.

We had made progress.

And then came Trump. And our progress stopped. And then, in at least a few areas, we began to slide backward. Well, ok, we’ve been pushed backwards. And if we don’t start pushing back ourselves, all the gains we’ve made will be lost. That and more.

That’s why I am voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and for MJ Hegar, and on down the line. I am voting for my community, for my future, for the future of this state and this country. I am voting for my life.
I am voting. I hope you are voting, too.

Tammye Nash is managing editor of Dallas Voice. She is also a spouse, a parent and a friend. The views expressed in this column are her own.