Being a citizen of the United States and having this platform, I feel it’s my duty to remind you all the importance of voting in these midterm elections. If you are like me and were crushed by the abysmal turn the 2016 Presidential Election took, and loath the actions of Trump and the current political leadership, then this election cycle is not one to ignore. It simply isn’t the time not to exercise your right to vote.
Look, I’ve heard a ton of excuses as to why people don’t vote and don’t plan to do so this November. And no excuse (with the exception of death, being in a comatose state, or felony disenfranchisement) has ever been a valid reason not to vote. If you say you can’t vote because you are busy on Election Day, get an absentee ballot or vote early on a day where you have free time. If you’re a person that doesn’t vote because you don’t want to be called for jury duty, know that a survey taken states only 27% of the entire U.S. population has ever served on a jury. (If you’re a person of color and feel this way about jury duty, think about the innocent black and brown folks who go to jail because they were convicted by people that don’t look like them. Or think about individuals who get off for taking black and brown lives because black and brown folks like you won’t serve.)
The worst excuse I hear when it comes to why people don’t vote is, “my vote won’t matter” or “my vote won’t change anything.” This excuse annoys me because millions of people use it, equating to millions of non-votes. For those using this excuse, allow me to present five things currently at stake, and why voting is important this go around.
- The Future of the American Budget
Yes, I understand that the presidency is not up for election this year (debatable but I’ll cover that soon), but the votes this November can help shape what our tax dollars are spent on. Congress has most of the power when it comes to the national budget. If Democrats can regain the House of Representative and the Senate, then theoretically that’s a win for some restoration of order in this country. Hopefully. So if you never want to see your tax dollars go into actually building that stupid wall, vote. If you’d rather no money be put into the idiotic idea of the United States Space Force, then vote. Heck, if you rather more legislation is not passed to help millionaires and big corporations further duck paying taxes, then vote!
I understand some folks may not know what this word means. And not because anyone is dumb, they just know the practice as something else. Plainly put, gerrymandering is politicians’ way of manipulating voting districts to benefit a particular political party. If you ever wondered how there are more registered Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents, yet Republicans are running the show, part of the answer is gerrymandering. Republicans in many states have managed to carve out districts that make no sense, but greatly benefit the GOP. This has to be stopped, and leveling the voting playing field so to speak starts at the polls.
- The Confirmation of Unqualified Government Officials
The revolving door of unqualified and/or “corrupt” Trump appointed officials can be stopped, or at least drastically slowed, with the results of this upcoming election. This matters because you don’t want more people being hired to fill positions that don’t have the best interests of the people or this country at heart. (I’ve exercised great restraint not name dropping examples of such officials here.)
- The Continued Shaping of the Supreme Court
Trump already as one pick on the court, and is on the cusp of getting a second on it. Do you really want Trump to easily be able to put more justices on the bench? My girl RGB (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is holding it down, but at 85, every time I hear her name on CNN I get nervous. And Clarence Thomas (not a fan) may want to step down any day now just because he can. The last thing I want to see is Trump stack the court. A court that will have a lot of important rulings to make soon. Including the possible scenario in which the court must decide if a sitting president can be indicted.
- Trump’s Presidency is on the Line
Put simply, unless the Democrats can regain control of the House and Senate, the chances of Trump serving out his entire term are extremely high. Both the Senate and House need to agree on the impeachment of a president. So, there needs to be a high voter turnout in favor of the liberal party.
Now this definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of reasons for why people should vote. I failed to mention the possibility of making real strides in gun reform, criminal justice reform, education reform, and heck the restoration of America’s image in these global streets. And yes, I get the grand level of change you crave may not happen right away on a national level. But if you want to feel a swifter impact of change locally, then you have to vote in local politics. So if you have a sheriff’s race going on this year, it’s important to cast a ballot because you have a better chance of fighting criminal justice biases in your city or town that way.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. If you choose not to vote, then choose not to complain when sh*t hits the fan. If you don’t cast your ballot in November and are able to, do the rest of America a favor and don’t tweet about Trump, don’t pretend to care and march in the streets, and save your prolific Facebook dissertations.
*BTW, check out what elections you can vote in this year, and make sure you verify your polling station.