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.
Welcome to part two of my “Advice for the New Year.” Now if you’re saying ouch after reading the title, let me say sorry but not sorry. This type of activism is simply not working. And if I’m calling anyone out about it, I’m calling myself out too. I want to do more in 2017, and I suggest you all join me.
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.
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.