Every four years we vote in a Presidential election and as a teacher (of history among other things for 28 years), I have a few things to say about voting.
1. Voting is important. We live in a republic where we have the right to vote. In some places in the world, that privilege is not available to the vast majority of people, but here, we have the RIGHT to vote. Sadly if we get higher than 50 or 55% of people who are eligible to vote to show up, it’s a “good turn out”. In a few presidential elections in more recent times, we had over 60% turn out. Big deal. You have the right to vote….show up!
2. Show up to vote! Stop making excuses and instead make a plan. “I didn’t vote because I forgot.” Seriously? Do you have a calendar? “I didn’t vote because I was away at college or on a business trip.” Really? Ummm…..Absentee ballot!!?! “I didn’t vote because it was raining and I didn’t want to stand in line!” Waaaaa! Get an umbrella and bring a book.
3. Elections aren’t just about the President. Remember that when you vote in a presidential election, ALL members of the House of Representatives and approx 1/3 of the Senate seats are up for grabs. Pay attention to the people you are electing to represent you in Congress when you vote! And, in the interim elections between presidential elections, show up to vote. ALL of the House and 1/3 of the Senate is elected then, too!
4. If you “don’t like” the candidates, vote anyway. Investigate them (not on FB!) and then choose the candidates whose views on the issues you MOST support. You are not ever going to agree with anyone 100% of the time, but it is up to YOU to know what the issues are and what the candidates are actually saying about these issues. Be informed!!!
5. It’s your voice – or someone else’s. Not voting is equivalent to saying, “I’ll let a small portion of the population choose for me!” Some presidents have been elected by less than 30% of the popular vote. Lincoln received 39% of the vote and he was one of the greatest presidents ever, but not all candidates are like Lincoln and if you don’t vote, you are losing your voice in the election process!
6. Use your voice or shut it. If you don’t vote, quit bitching about the government! Yes, I realize we all have freedom of speech, but you seriously lose credibility in your complaining if you didn’t use your freedom of speech with your vote! If you voted and don’t like the outcome, at least you can say that you did your part to be heard in the election process!
7. Do what YOU believe. Vote according to what you believe government should be about. Just because your parents, family members or friends vote a certain way does not mean you should do the same. Vote your way! I have some amazing friends and wonderful family members that have a completely different political philosophies than me. And that’s ok. It’s up to me to determine where my votes go.
8. Be rational! Vote using rational thought. Stop listening to the pundits and the emotional, often untrue, statements that they spew. Use your intellect when forming your opinion. There is a lot of nonsense spread around in the media, especially social media, which is ridiculous to say the least!
9. Relationships are more important than politics. Remember relationships are more important than politics. Stop attacking others over their beliefs about government and remember that we are human beings. If you are losing friendships over an election, then wow. Be civil. Respect one another and shut up!
I know who I’m voting for. I know why I’m voting for the people I’m voting for. I have the right to vote. I accept that right and view it as my civic responsibility. I will vote in ALL elections. I will be thankful that I live in a country where I can vote. I will not name call or attack others but will have calm civil discussions and voice my opinion with respect for others. I will voice my opinion in love and will agree to disagree because I won’t lose a friend just because we don’t see eye to eye over politics.
That’s where I stand. @jill_kilby