I have always been intrigued by politics. Maybe this is the heritage of growing up in a country that was not quite a democracy. A country that see-sawed between regimes of brutality and corruption. As a child I watched power come and go. I heard about elections and coups. Somewhere between the whispered voices of the populace and the crackdown of the henchmen, I became intrigued with politics and the political process.
The thing that happens when you immigrate though is that you lose one home without quite being at home. I was not in Nigeria to vote but I was not American to vote even as I attained my majority. So a few weeks after my 30th birthday next year, I will be casting my first vote in a nationwide election. I am still debating if I should vote in the primaries since I am a registered democrat.
Now that I am a voter, I find that I am afraid to exercise my power. Back in the days of green card, it was easy to give money. I gave money to Barack Obama in those days. I talked off my mother’s ears about the American politics. That was easy. Being a voter, for me, is hard. To cast my one vote is to say, “I trust you to represent me, to make choices that represent my best chances.”
Maybe my anxiety as a first time voter is more reflective of the current political environment. I see one side with crazy voices. Another side with sensible voices but bland stories. I find that I want to be inspired. Not by the thoughts of the first female president or the first socialist government. I want to look at the candidates and see America’s hope. If I am honest, I am not much inspired by the candidates. But as a voter, I am forced to choose from a set of imperfect options.