The Power of the First Vote

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

I voted for the first time one month after I turned 18 years old.  I had volunteered with George McGovern’s anti war campaign for six months and was completely inspired.   36 years later, I still remember the thrill of casting my vote.  Even though we didn’t win, the direction of my life was changed forever and I continue to live out of the desires that fueled that vote. My life became a vehicle for all the ideals and goals that awoke in me during the McGovern campaign, when peace and justice became my guiding lights.

Through my involvement in the McGovern campaign, I met Secretary of State Jerry Brown.  At the time, Jerry was pushing to get money out of politics and fighting to end the death penalty—and I was naturally drawn to his work. I served in his administration when he was governor and later ran his presidential campaign in 1992—and all of it was an extension of those first six months with McGovern so many years before.  Peace and justice continued to guide my decisions—from campaign finance reform, living wages and protections for Farm Workers, more women in the halls of power, the right to choose, protection of the rain forests, stopping war and much more.  The intention inside that first vote lives inside my life as an activist and all the votes that followed.

As I sit, today, in the afterglow of this historic moment, I feel all the blood, sweat and tears from the past 40, 60, 250 years that have brought it to be.  I am thrilled to know that for so many this was their First Vote—and I hope that the excitement and desire for a better world which inspired so many to cast their first ballot for Hope and Change continues to move them forward in their lives’ work. And that they go so much further—after all, at last, we won!  That fact, and what it means about the lives of so many Americans and the possibility for the world we can create, has the wind at my back this morning.

Jodie Evans is the Co-founder of CODEPINK Women for Peace. You can more about her on her bio page on the CODEPINK website.

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