Today is Election Day. November 7th, 2017. And I have a very different feeling this election day than previous election days. I feel as though this political climate paired with current events has left Americans feeling 2 ways:
- Feeling like no matter the outcome of their local elections, bad things will still happen.
- Feeling more impassioned than ever to engage in conversations about what is affecting American families today (gun control, healthcare, education and taxes).
These things are not mutually exclusive, and more often than not they are paired. It is not easy to wake up everyday and get that “seize the day feeling”, whether it be at work, at home, or even just picking up that book you need to read for book club instead of picking up the remote. We are all tired, we are all working hard, but we, as Americans, regardless of what candidate we are voting for, whether you like dogs or cats, the Eagles or the Steelers, have the unique right and privilege to participate in this decision. It can absolutely make one feel powerless, watching the horrific events on the news, or even having the person we’ve voted for lose. But I think it is of the utmost importance that we don’t forget what makes us American, not just in America but on a global scale. We are a diverse country. Whether it be ethnic, racial or religious persecution or discrimination based on gender, all of our voices and experiences need to be represented and heard for this system to work as it should. Politics is embedded in our everyday life. From the topics discussed on our morning radio shows (freedom of speech), to the price of the bridge toll I pay every morning (taxes). Too often people go through life thinking that their vote doesn’t count, or they don’t care much about “politics”. But it’s not caring about “politics”, it’s about empowerment and the ability to identify the connection between the decision makers on television with our daily lives.
My hope is that Americans continue to feel empowered to take action and participate in this political system, that if used correctly, can come to represent the diversity that makes us unique and improve the quality of life for all Americans. Every year a candidate loses, and every year a group of people will be disappointed. My hope is that we as Americans will remain engaged and informed. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. All Democrat or all Republican, all male or all female, all black or all white, my hope is that, with all of the differences dividing the country right now, that people who are able to vote just vote. Just vote. Just. Vote. Vote for people who can’t afford to leave work early to go to their polling place. Vote for people who can’t find childcare for their kids so they have the flexibility to get home a little later than usual. Vote for those who are incarcerated or have served their time but are still unable to cast their ballot. Vote for small business owners who work around the clock and need to open up shop when no one else can, even on election day. The American experience looks different for everyone, but my hope, is that we as Americans, maintain hope, feel empowered and are still able to see the value in our votes.
“It is every American’s right and obligation to read and interpret the Constitution for himself.”