You’ve probably heard this over and over again….but if you do anything tomorrow, make sure you’ve voted in the 2016 election.
For those of you who have voted early – thank you. You’ve done your part. But it’s time for the rest of us to do ours.
You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard the rhetoric, you’re tired of the nastiness and divisiveness…and you have a choice. You can either do nothing and complain, or vote…and still complain, but at least you’ve expressed your opinion.
Those of you who want to claim that voting in the 2016 election means choosing the “lesser of two evils”….well, you have a choice. Democracy is about living up to ideals not courting popularity – sometimes, we have to make tough choices. And sitting out the election is not an option.
(By the way, you know that infamous George Carlin quote about how nonvoters have a right to complain because they’re “stuck” with a choice? Sorry, George got it wrong – when you have an opportunity to make a choice, especially in this year’s election, you take it with both hands. And then you walk away knowing, win or lose, you have asserted your rights. If you defend freedom of speech and freedom of thought, you are obligated to defend freedom of political choice).
Both nationally and in Illinois, most political campaigning surrounds the idea of “us vs. them.” The “insider” versus the “independent leader”. But both are part of the same system, and you have an obligation to make a choice because you have the ability to vote.
And let’s be clear – one of the presidential candidates has made it clear he won’t respect that choice to the point of saying, “There’s no need for elections – just give me the presidency”. This candidate has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of understanding of how democracy works, but also has no self-awareness about his own blind spots. (After all, this is someone who intends to allow his Vice President to run things while he “makes America great again.”) Even other candidates are not perfect, but the worst I can say about either is that Gary Johnson should get geography tutoring and Hilary Clinton showed bad judgment in using e-mail).
You might not be happy that your candidate didn’t make it – not Bernie Sanders, not Ted Cruz, not Mike O’Malley. They all put in great effort….but now is not the time to sulk. Now is the time to vote for the candidate that reflects your beliefs. Now really is the time to take action.
And yes, some of you will leave comments below calling me “naive”, or berating me for my beliefs….but where would you rather live: a country that ensures your right to express your opinion without punishment or a country where you could be imprisoned over a Facebook comment?
Didn’t think so. So
Right now, the United States is in a precarious position: many people have felt left out of the process. There’s a legitimate feeling of isolation, that changes are being made and they have a hard time adjusting. I won’t dismiss those feelings (I’ve had them myself from time to time), but I will say that nothing comes without struggle. Anyone who claims that they have all the answers, who capitalizes on that anger without recognizing the feelings behind it….should not be lead this country.
All you have to do tomorrow is to vote in the 2016 election. Yes, it’s tough. If you live in Illinois, you can search for your nearest polling place here. You’ll have to take time away from work. (And we agree with this recent Last Week Tonight With John Oliver piece on Election Day):
Your next step should be to vote. Tomorrow. The 2016 Election.
Because, just this once, the future really is in your hands.