Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Now more than ever, we as Americans need to be actively involved in every election and getting as many people as you know registered to vote. Off year elections usually result in lower voter turnout than presidential election years, but the 2014 election is not the election you want to skip. The mid-term election of 2010 and some of the candidates who were elected that year is a very good example of what can happen when people don’t vote in large numbers.
Voting is so important that almost every commercial you’ll see over the next six months will be a negative political ad. Thanks to the Citizen’s United and McCutcheon decisions by the Supreme Court, candidates and their big money Political Action Groups are going to flood the airways trying to convince us to vote for a candidate of their liking and tell us why we shouldn’t vote for the other candidate. These bad decisions, along with the horrible decision by the Supreme Court to lift certain restrictions from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will do more damage to voting rights than the overt tactics of voter suppression and intimidation laws used in the Jim Crow South.
The attack on voting rights has reared its ugly head once again as we’ve seen bills being introduced and passed in states all over the country, making it harder and more difficult for people to vote. I’m not just talking about the new voter ID laws, but the subtler changes like closing the polls earlier, decreasing the amount of polling places (which lengthens the time people stand in line to vote), and shortening the number of early voting days (a direct attack on Sunday Souls to the Polls drives). People with huge chucks of money are being given free reign to influence the political process in America and basically buy their way into office, while it’s getting harder and harder for normal citizens to cast their ballots.
It is very important for each and every one of us to make sure that everyone we know, interact, and deal with are registered to vote. We have to be educated voters because the political elite and their cronies are depending on us to be low information voters. This explains why the approval rating for Congress is at an all time low, but incumbents continue to be re-elected. We have the power to hold our elected officials accountable and fire them when they aren’t doing the people’s business. It is definitely time for some of the sitting members of Congress to be given their walking papers because they are too far disconnected with the needs and desires of the people they are elected to serve.
I understand that some of you might be loyal to the Democratic Party, but really, what has the Democratic Party done for us lately? Those of you who are loyal to the Republican Party are in the same boat because more than likely, you are voting for candidates who don’t have your best interest in mind. I know this might not sit well with some of my friends on either side of the political spectrum, but it the truth. Don’t get married to a political party because then you'll start voting for the (D) or (R) that comes after a person’s name instead of voting for that person. Voting down party lines dumbs down the voter, and makes it easier to assume that a candidate is ok just because they are a Democrat or a Republican.
Forgive me for not having a lot of confidence in the Democratic Party and their failed promises during campaign season, only to see them get elected and forget about the issues of which they campaigned. The Republican Party continues to show through their legislative agenda and some of the most outrageous candidates they can find, that they do not give a damn about minorities, civil rights for the LGBT community, poor people, women’s rights to choose, non-Christian Americans, unemployed workers, or public school teachers. As one female radio talk show host asked, “have you seen the things Republicans want to stick in women?”
I’m not telling you which party to affiliate with, or who to support because I’m not in bed with either party. For the record, I am a non-Party affiliated voter. I purposely do not affiliate myself with either of the two major political parties in this country and for that, I can only vote in general elections.
My lack of trust in either of these parties to carry out the business of the nation is no reason for me or anyone else to throw in the towel and not vote. Too many people have given their lives and sacrificed a whole lot of blood and tears for every American to have the right vote in this country. To me, it is a slap in the face and an insult to those pioneers when we don’t take advantage of the power we have through our vote.
If you have not registered to vote yet, please do not wait until November to get registered. Act now and let your voice be heard through the ballot, or remain silent when the results of the election produce elected officials who care more about getting re-elected than governing. Do whatever it takes to get registered and help someone who might have trouble getting the necessary documentation to get registered to vote. Our lives are going to be affected in one way or another by the results of the upcoming elections, so be sure that your vote gets counted because each and every vote truly does matter.