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.
I wanted to write this letter post-election not to necessarily express my discontent, but to express my hope. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly disappointed by the results of yesterday’s election. It has been no secret that I was pulling for the former secretary of state. Although my enthusiasm for her dipped substantially over the course of the election, I always knew in my heart of hearts that she was the better candidate between her and Trump. Heck, I thought, and continue to think, that Trump embodies the dangers of white privilege and money, and is a champion of xenophobia, racism, and sexism. But regardless of my feelings of the now president-elect, he will be taking the oval office in just a few months.
As I’ve said, I’m not really writing this to express my discontent, so let’s get to why I’m hopeful. If you recall, at the start of the century, George W. Bush was elected to the highest office in the land. You can argue until you’re blue in the face about the legitimacy of that election process, but it won’t change history. People thought his election was the worst thing that’s happened to this country. That was until he was reelected in 2004. Eight years of bad foreign policy, economic plans, and overall decision making, left this country in a pretty low place. However, it also left this country and it’s voters in a position to receive change. Big change.
- I Don’t Have Time to Stand in Line
This excuse may be a valid one, if so many people weren’t willing to stand in line and wait for other things. We all know a friend or family member that has woken up at the crack of dawn to stand in line at Best Buy or Walmart on Black Friday. Heck, you yourself may have rolled out of bed to stand in line for two hours to wait to get a TV or two. Or maybe you’ve been one of those people to wait in line to get the latest iPhone or pair of Jordans.
The point here is this. People are eager to wait in line for small picture material items, but are reluctant to wait in line to vote. That sounds crazy. Taxes are always on the ballot. If you want more money to spend on phones and shoes, try voting. In fact, if it will get you to the poll faster, think of voting as an opportunity to possibly earn you some extra spending money. Everyone could use some extra coin. And if you still can’t wrap your mind around waiting in line to vote, then GO vote early if your state allows it.
In one of those moments when I let my mind wander, I started thinking about this year’s election. And I wasn’t thinking about who offers the better healthcare plan, or whose economic policy will better benefit America’s future. I was thinking about what this election year reminds me of in terms of TV and film. And here is the list I came up with.
While the world is continuing to laugh at the blatant plagiarism of Melania Trump, and Donald Trump and company continue to deny the reality of said plagiarism, I found myself this morning focusing on First Lady Michelle Obama. I like many of you, again watched clips of her speech from the 2008 Democratic Convention. Back then, just like today, she was the epitome of grace, class, and intellect. And after doing a little reminiscing, I was reminded by the extremely sad fact that come January, she’ll be out the White House. *Insert a MAJOR sigh*
With the rash of state legislatures eager to pass bills that clearly disenfranchise members of the LGBT community, I thought I’d take the opportunity to call BS. While I’m disgusted by the legislative actions of states like North Carolina, Mississippi, and almost Georgia, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. History in the U.S. has countless examples of what happens when this country finally takes steps toward equality for all.
Despite record breaking turnout in some states’ primaries or caucuses, I for one find myself increasingly underwhelmed by this 2016 presidential race. I’m sick of the media talking about Hillary’s emails, I’m tired of the back and forth pettiness between candidates, and I’m beyond over the ignorant and clownish phenomenon that is Donald Trump. To be honest, American politics is slowly becoming a sick joke that I can’t believe is our reality. And I’m left to wonder, where did it all go wrong?
So in the past week, I’ve been reminded of a major reason why Trump is seemingly so popular. The ignorance that he spews from his platform, preys on the very fears and ignorance many in America have. His “othering” of Muslims, condemnation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, and belittlement of women, strikes a chord with the apparent millions of people that treat minorities as a scapegoat for all the turmoil in this country.
Up until now, I’ve been relatively quiet about the present and future political landscape of this country. And that’s not because I haven’t had my share of opinions. Trust me, I’ve had plenty to say. But now with the 2016 presidential primaries inching closer, and certain politicians and pundits shoving their feet further into their mouths, I decided to get somethings off my chest. So here it goes.