When America Votes
I am writing this on Memorial Day. The Day each year when we remember in particular all our fathers, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers, and other members of our extended family who have died to protect our freedoms as Americans. These freedoms include a fair judicial system applied equally to everyone, a congress that passes laws for the country that benefit everyone, elected officials who take an oath to uphold all the constitution, not to ignore parts they don’t like when they decide on what to do. But those that fought for our freedoms have fought to give each American the right to vote. Regardless of who you vote for, you may vote. Andrew Pagoda, University of Houston, stated in a recent article that 40-90% of American voters stay home during elections. The best turnout is during national elections.
Why do people stay Home?
People stay at home for a variety of reasons. The most important one and the most egregious is voter suppression. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted measures to make specifically aimed at making voting more difficult. Some people stay because they choose to. They don’t like either candidate. Some cannot vote because of physical obstacles at the polling places, physical impediments, no transportation, or they are homeless. The idea of everyone having an equal right to vote is being seriously eroded.
You have an obligation to vote
Some would say that this right to vote is really an obligation of our citizenship. Plato complains that whereas in simpler matters—like shoe-making—we think only a specially trained person will serve our purpose, in politics, we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. Your vote according to the dictionary is your expression of preference for a candidate for office.
What are your responsibilities as a Voter?
To express your preference, you need to understand what that candidate stands for. Seems simple right. If he’s a Republican and I’m a republican, that means I should vote for him or her. Unfortunately, not that simple. Our responsibility requires that we study the positions the candidate takes on the issues important to us. Everyone’s issues are different but some issues to consider for US Offices are the candidate’s stand on racism, application of justice, how they react in a crisis, how do they stand on the concept of the global community, etc. Our responsibility is to be thoughtful in our selection.
How are we physically going to vote in November
This year is further complicated by the pandemic. Will it be safe in November to go to the polls, or should there be mail-in ballots available for everyone? Having lived in different States that do it both ways. Each way works and despite the press neither is less accurate. Both systems have checks and balances in place.
How important will your vote be this year?
Your vote is always important, but especially in a Presidential election year. President Abraham Lincoln preached the importance of the government being of, for, and by the people. The voter’s role is to make sure the government reflects their desires. The outcomes of elections will affect your personal freedoms, taxes, and your daily lives. Because of the pandemic, it will be more important than ever to exercise your right to vote. If we can only vote at polling places, it is important that you ensure that everyone can get there and express their opinion safely.
You’re not just voting for an individual, in my judgment, you’re voting for an agenda. You’re voting for a platform. You’re voting for a political philosophy.