This past weekend I got to participate in one of our greatest rights as American citizens. I got to vote. Not only did I get to vote but I got to participate in the largest caucus my state has ever seen. My city alone saw a turn out of upwards of 5000 people. The line was so long and crowd so immense that they decided on the spot to upgrade from caucus to primary.
To get a sheer sense of the size, you have to check out this video from Portland based photographer/videographer Dylan Verner.
It took 4 minutes to DRIVE the line for this caucus in Portland, Maine. This wasn’t a Bernie Sanders rally. It wasn’t a concert. It was a caucus. When voter turn out is high, we win. Every time.Let’s get high voter turn out in Michigan: berniesanders.com/callThanks Portland Pinhole for this incredible video
Posted by The People For Bernie Sanders 2016 on Sunday, March 6, 2016
I’m in that line, about halfway through to be specific and I stood in that line for close to four hours just so I could cast my vote. Now at first glance this may not seem like such an astounding feat but for someone with epilepsy it’s pretty darn impressive. The three days prior to the caucus, for whatever reason, my auras (aka suppressed seizures, aka weird bouts of hearing background noise and being confused) were through the roof. Now if you’re someone like me who has experienced seizures and auras you know first hand just how draining they can be physically and emotionally. For those of you unfamiliar with the feeling, imagine sprinting up a snow and slush covered hill, at an 80 degree incline, to reach the love of your life for a comforting warm embrace only to have the person ripped away from you at the last second and find yourself transplanted to the base of a new, unfamiliar mountain… now multiply that feeling by twenty. That’s roughly about how draining it feels. You probably wouldn’t feel much up for standing in a crowd of people after that would you? To top it off, not knowing what ones triggers are means that things like extreme cold, standing for long periods of time, lack of food and crowds could also lead to epileptic episodes. Add that wonderful bundle of fear on top of the exhaustion. Needless to say caucus morning I was in no mood to take the risk. However, through the support of my amazing life partner and some incredibly encouraging friends I went for it, and I am incredibly glad that I did. Not only did I get to spend a full day with some of the kindest, most supportive, like minded individuals I have ever met, I got to participate in a historic event. I got to have my voice heard for the candidate I think is the best choice to represent our country at this moment in time, and I got to share the experience with loved ones. By the end of the day the gloom of the past days’ auras had lifted and I found myself beaming with joy and pride from the support I received from others and the support I showed for my country.
Regardless of what your political party may be, I urge you, do not let your epilepsy get in the way of casting your vote. If you really don’t feel up for going to your local polls or caucus location there are always absentee ballots, so you can vote from wherever you feel most comfortable and safe. Each of our voices matter when it comes to shaping the future we want to see for our country. As people with disabilities that make it difficult for us to live (quote un-quote) normal lives, difficulties that may prevent us from working the typical 9-5 job and receiving necessary benefits like health insurance, our voices are so vitally important and no one will hear us unless we speak up!
Stay strong, stay grounded, stay positive and stay involved!
The Epileptic Explorer