For the past month, I have listened to 150 fifth grade students rehearse for their performances this week about the cause and effect of the American Revolution. They sing songs about King George the Third’s empire (13 Colonies), Taxation without Representation, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention, the first Presidential Election, and lastly, the overall excitement to vote and be heard.
When did this excitement turn into indifference? I get it. This particular presidential election has divided friends and family alike. Television, radio, and the Internet are exploding with advertisements, stories, photos, and videos about the candidates and their supporters. The information is true, exaggerated, miscommunicated, or just plain false. It is then up to us to decipher it all; and frankly, it can be laborious.
So, why should you vote? Because you can! Too many people fought for our right to vote; some of them are your own ancestors. Yes, some groups’ right to vote came later than others, but that is not the case today. YOU have a voice. Use it. Some people wish that they had YOUR voice. There are citizens in other countries that wish they had YOUR right to vote. There are important decisions to be made and YOUR opinion matters.
If you have looked at your sample ballot, then you know that the presidential candidates are not the only people on the ballot competing to represent our voices in the United States government. My state, California, has a senate seat open. Two senators represent each state for six years. So, half of my state’s representation is being decided on this year. In addition, members of the U.S. House of Representatives have two-year terms; so, they are either being elected or reelected. There you have it; two branches of the U.S. government that will be greatly affected by this election.
State elections and propositions are just as important to consider. Whether the election includes governor, state assembly members, or state senators, your opinion matters. THEY represent YOU. Learn the facts. Some of their decisions affect education and state revenue. Which issues do they support? Do you agree or disagree?
Propositions propose new laws, change or repeal existing laws, change the state’s constitutions, or approve a bond. Most of the time they affect the whole state. Residents of the state usually feel the direct impact of these propositions quicker than any decisions made by our state and U.S. government officials. As a California voter, it was exhausting reading literature on 17 propositions; but it was necessary. When something is placed on a ballot for ALL eligible voters to decide; we need to take it seriously. It’s that simple.
The fifth graders from my school happen to be performing on Tuesday’s Election Day, and Wednesday’s Day After. It will be interesting to see if the energy of the audience noticeably changes during the Vote song. No matter what, the students will loudly sing, “Gonna vote for president” as they wave their homemade VOTE signs above their heads.
Exercise your right to vote. That’s what our founding fathers established, that’s what our ancestors fought for, and that’s what our future generations expect to do.
United States Constitution