How Writing Postcards Influenced Me To Become An American Citizen {Guest Post}

postcards to voters

As I looked around at the people trickling past the Homeland Security official into the auditorium, surrendering their green cards as they came, I realized how my path was different from theirs. Most of these people, Asians, Latinos, East Indians, were taking advantage of the opportunity for citizenship as soon as they had fulfilled the requirement of living in the US for a few years. I had waited decades, having lived in the US all my adult life.

I immigrated from Canada right after college, with an internship at The Gesell Institute of Child Development in New Haven, followed by marriage to an American. Pursuing a career in music education, I somehow remained comfortably Canadian until the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. The was no denying the fact that the Republican candidate’s platform was a huge scaffolding of lies and deceit. The man’s quest for a second term in the White House had nothing to do with upholding the Constitution, the bedrock of this country. His ambitions fueled by self-aggrandizement, he appeared a bottomless pit of greed for attention, power and money. The signs of authoritarianism were lurking. It was frightening, and I started to do what I could – donate some money to the Democrats, and write post cards encouraging the vote.

After the post-card writing fervor of fall 2020, it was wonderful when it became clear that Biden was the new president-elect. Despite my strong intentions to pursue citizenship, the January 6th insurrection and proliferation of election deniers gave me cold feet. Two years of inaction on my part ticked by (well, lots of post cards for the Georgia election run-off in 2022) but by the start of 2023, I realized how extremely important it was to cast my own vote for democracy. I submitted my application, and delved with great enthusiasm into the study of American history and civics to prepare for my citizenship test and interview. On the big day, my case agent asked if I had any involvement with a political party. “No,” I blurted out. “That’s exactly the point! I have always been lukewarm about politics until the months leading up to the 2020 election, when I felt absolutely compelled to write postcards, and do something. I urged so many people to vote, and now I  REALLY want to vote!”

I mailed my request for my voter registration card the same day I became American, and have taken pride in mailing in my ballot three times since then. I wrote postcards for Blue Wave Postcards for the first time last fall, urging voters in Virginia to protect women’s reproductive rights. I was very impressed with the concise and pithy printed statements in the message block of the postcards, and the efficiency of the pre-printed address labels. When the election results were announced, I felt a palpable camaraderie with all the other post card writers across the country. I chat about  postcard writing to friends, and am now ordering larger amounts and distributing to my knitting friends, my walking companions and grandmothers and mothers of my piano students! Blue Wave is making a difference in the fight for democracy. Writing for this organization is an integral and deeply important element in my new identity as a citizen if the United States of America.

-Claire Marshall


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