Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Declare Yourself Reading Material!

We here at Declare Yourself really want you to understand what a privilege it is to get out there and vote. It is easy to associate the struggle for universal suffrage with the past. Voting can appear boring or even trivial. But in the wake of the recent violence in Zimbabwe concerning a disputed democratic election, we can still see today (like, right now!) that people are fighting for the ballot.

In Declare Yourself: Speak. Connect. Act. Vote., some of America’s most famous and interesting celebrities tell you about their first voting experiences and discuss the importance of voting. Read some of the excerpts below, get inspired to vote, or even buy the book. Most importantly, remember to register to VOTE.

Amber Tamblyn

“In 2000 I was seventeen years old. I missed the presidential election by a few months and took it like a dodgeball to the stomach. To me, voting was the ultimate choice. It wasn’t so much my history teacher in high school or my relatives who made me interested in the Art of Voting. (Yeah, I said ART. Deal with it.) It was the sense that I was becoming a part of something that was bigger than I am—a rare opportunity for someone who has been acting since the age of nine and has learned how to live vicariously through herself. I was ready to go beyond all that. I wanted so badly to be a new tooth in the mouth of my country, helping to grind into the term democracy, by really becoming a part of the nutritional value of it: US. The people. The nine-to-fivers who take thirty-minute intermissions on an Election Day to be sincere. To mean what we say.”

Hayden Panettiere

“When I turned eighteen this past year, my first stop that morning was to the Declare Yourself office in Los Angeles to register to vote. It only took a couple of minutes to fill out the form on my laptop. But the feeling of going through a special rite of passage stayed with me all day—I could actually vote and exercise my right to pick who’s running the country.”

“Many of my friends and peers think of getting their driver’s license or taking their first drink as their big rites of passage. People need to know, though, just how powerful and important it is to vote for the first time. It’s not just your vote that matters, but your vote when it is counted along with all the other votes cast by young people around the country.”

“You may not know it, but we are the fastest growing group of voters. It’s a big group, getting bigger every day. Did you know that four million Americans turn eighteen every year? The people in Washington will have no choice but to listen to us—but only if we speak up; only if we exercise our voting rights and don’t silence ourselves.”