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First, a little reminder from high school civics class. Why do we vote? If your vote does not result in a win, is voting a waste of time? Why did the Founding Fathers guarantee the right to vote in the First Amendment? What is the “Electoral College?” What does it mean to “vote along party lines?”
The United States is not a literal “democracy.” Not every citizen votes on every law. We are a democratic republic. We elect women and men who vote for us, and that is their only purpose, their only requirement. When we vote for candidates without knowing anything about them, our vote can be wasted, and all too often detrimental to our own needs.
Voting can be frustrating. You may vigorously support a candidate who you know would address your needs and wishes, but he or she loses to someone who is opposed to them. Every voter experiences this feeling of loss. However, when we do not vote, we are surrendering to those whose ambitions supersede their desire to serve all of the people. Without your vote change is impossible.
Our founding fathers believed that the first amendment is the most inclusive and important guarantee of human rights ever written. Included is the right of every citizen to offer their opinions and create change with the power of their vote.
Most frustrating for most voters is the Electoral College. It exists for the sole purpose of preventing the right of the people to choose their president, giving it to the states. Each of us has experienced the excitement of voting for the woman or man who would lead our nation for the next four years, only to have that feeling squashed when his or her state’s electoral votes were given to his or her opponent. Every vote should count, and the people should elect the President of the United States.
It is not uncommon for our elections to be won or lost under false pretenses. The very existence of political parties is partly responsible for some of the worst men and women in history being allowed to have seats in the House and Senate. Voting for any candidate for the sole reason that he or she has an “R” or a “D” next to their name is lazy and ignorant.
Independent voters make their decisions based on which candidate’s platform is most closely associated with his or her own. This is how we get better government, in fact, it’s the only way.
“The truth lives here,” and when the electorate refuses to vet each candidate, the result places the worst of the worst in office, those like Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), among others.
If you look at the differences between both Democrats and Republicans today, and compare their principles and ideals from eight decades in the past, neither have many similarities to their predecessors.
In the 1940s, Democrats were the people’s party and the party of change. Today they are further to the right, more like Republicans of the past. However, Republicans in the 1940’s were not running for anything. Their inability to defeat the greatest president in history, “the people’s president,” Franklin D. Roosevelt, forced them to attack his successes with lies and baseless attacks on his accomplishments. They began to move farther to the right of the center.
However, their strategy did not work. After FDR passed away in 1945, Vice-President Harry Truman remained president for the next seven years and eight months. In 1952, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected, and moved into the White House, the first time for a Republican in 20 years.
This reveals the power of the voting public.
Our votes are more important today than at any other time in our nation’s history. Please do not be an “ignorant voter,” be informed. Make your vote count. Take a few minutes to look at the records of the candidates who are asking for your precious vote. Do not give it to a political party.
Remember, Donald Trump had no experience in any level of government and therefore accomplished nothing of importance in four years. Instead, he divided the nation and planned the end of our democracy and the establishment of fascism in America.
The bottom line is: VOTE! Republicans are passing laws intended to suppress voting rights in nearly 40 states. Do not let them win: this is your country, not theirs.
Op-ed by James Turnage
CONGRESS.ORG: S.2747 – Freedom to Vote Act
Brennan Center for Justice: Voting Laws Roundup: February 2022
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Victoria Pickering’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Edwin J. Torres Courtesy of Phil Murphy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License