In 2007, my grandfather took his American Citizenship test. I remember my mom taking photos of him standing, and reciting the pledge for the very first time as an American Citizen. My grandfather, a man who grew up in the most illiterate state in India, who stood before me as a successful cardiologist symbolized my America. The following year, he participated in his first presidential election. On his tweed suit jacket he proudly placed his “I voted” sticker. For my grandfather and hundreds of thousands of people who become U.S. citizen each year, that sticker represents the ideals and strengths of our nation. The I voted sticker holds the common place that our country is one “for the people by the people” and is civic in it promotes Americans to do their civic duty of voting, while also inciting conversation about the political climate of our country.
Body of speech
- discuss its origin based in the 1980’s
- in 1987 developed by Janet Boudreau as a way to help remind Americans of Election Day, if they were to see someone else wearing one
- The design has a waving American flag on it, which often incites feelings of pride and honor for our country, and is very persuasive in making Americans vote
- Discuss how the sticker is civic because they can start important conversations. When someone sees someone else wearing a sticker, they might ask them if they voted, why they voted, or even who they voted for. This creates an opportunity to have open conversations
- The stickers also create the sense of community that voting is suppose to create, because the sticker is nonpartisan, but simply unites all Americans under the same waving flag
- Also, the flag uses pathos by invoking those feelings of pride and love for ones country
- Discuss how younger voters will often use the sticker as a symbol of Election Day, and will use it as a platform on social media to discuss their views
- The sticker is also representative of the struggle that many minority groups in America had to endure to receive their right to vote
For some a sticker may not seem like much, but the I voted sticker has developed into a powerful tool for inspiring civic participation. Additionally, the stickers symbolize the common place that most Americans have that voting is a right that all citizens have, and through that vote, they are able to actively effect their government. For Americans who historically were refused the right to vote, the sticker represents the adversity they had to overcome in order receive their rights. And finally, for Americans like my grandfather, the sticker symbolizes the journey as old as our nation, of coming to America, in search of a better life.