Sunday, November 4, 2012

Your Vote IS Your Voice. Make It Count. Be Heard.

Warning: I'm going to get on my soapbox about voting. You've been warned.

Tuesday is Election Day.

I know many of you say you hate politics. You hate it because of the backstabbing, lying, highly questionable ethical practices, lack of ability to work together by politicians of different parties, and general negativity that seems to be inherent in our political system today. Oh, and the fact that campaigns seem to start the day after the elections without ever giving elected officials to do their jobs. I get it. I truly do.

The way our country practices politics is disgusting. Much like watching sausage being made, I imagine.

But here's the thing: We have this elected form of government and our elected officials make decisions on our behalf that effect our lives everyday and the only way we can influence the decisions they make is to VOTE.

There are many special interest groups (i.e., PACs) and wealthy people (e.g., the Koch brothers) who would use their money and influence to get politicians to do their bidding and don't care about the effects on the majority of Americans. When we don't vote, those special interest groups win. When they win, we lose.

What do we lose? Good question.

When the special interests win, we lose funding for education and FEMA. Ask your friends and family in New Jersey, New York and New Orleans about the importance of FEMA. We lose bank regulations and consumer protections. We lose environmental protections. Social Security and Medicare are at risk.  Our country's infrastructure suffers. Health care for women and children suffers. This is just a small list of what we lose when special interests win.

If you care about these things, the loudest way your voice is heard is when you vote. And if you think your vote doesn't matter, I'd like to remind you of the 2000 presidential election. Not only did it go down to the wire, it went past the wire. 537 votes separated the vote totals in Florida. What would have happened if another 540 voters went to the polls and voted for Al Gore? We'll never know.

You simply must vote. You owe it to yourself, to your elderly parents, to your kids, to your future grandchildren. You owe it to all the women around the world who are denied the ability to vote simply because they are women. You owe it to all the people who died fighting to ensure everyone of every race and gender in the United States was allowed to vote.

I know that there are many organizations trying to deny people the right to vote this elections. Voter suppression efforts have been widely covered in the news. The best way to fight voter suppression efforts is to vote. Show those groups that no matter how difficult it is on Tuesday, your vote matters to you and you won't be deterred by their fear of your vote.

Your vote is your voice. Make it count. Be heard.

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