Consider this: Voting


In November, we have one of the most important elections of our lifetimes coming up. I know that many people say this for every election, but if you think about it, it’s true. Every election is important because we get to decide who is elected and who isn’t. We get to use our power of voting for a singular purpose. To put persons we want in Washington, and in our individual states, who will decide for us what is necessary and what isn’t to our daily lives.

Many of us advertise ourselves as Republican or Democrat. This can be a good thing, but is it really the best thing for us? The parties, on a high level, each have an agenda for how they will act under certain conditions. They usually publish these in an election year to let voters know how they are thinking. But when it gets down to the local candidates, whether federal or state, do they feel as their party leaders feel? Would it be better for us if they did?

We are, and should be, voting for people that do what we need them to do for us. Residing in Illinois, or in Ogle County, is very different than residing in South Carolina or Franklin County, Illinois. We do get brochures from our local candidates, but do we read them or look on their web sites to find out how they are going to vote for us? When we vote for them, after focusing our attention on this research, do they vote for rules and laws according to what they have told us? If not, are we watching so that we can remove them when they come up for re-election?

This may seem like a lot of work but remember that it is our lives and livelihoods they can affect. Many do what they set out to do, but many can be affected by other influences or the money that now flows into politics. Although many of us would like to see this stopped, we do have ways to limit the effectiveness of these dollars and influences. Again, we can vote them out, but we also can call, text, email, or write them on a regular basis if they aren’t doing what they promised. Wouldn’t this be much harder for us if we only voted on a strict party basis?

I must admit that when I was young, I tended to vote as my family did. And that was along party lines. But as we sat around and complained that a rule or law that was recently passed affected us negatively, I started to realize that my complaints weren’t being heard by the appropriate people. As I began to research how those I had voted for were voting themselves, I found that many times they were voting against what they stood for when running for office.  I would call or write them asking why they did this and telling them their job would be temporary unless they did what they said they would do. I felt powerful.

At the next election, I would look back to voting rolls and determine if these people were still on my side.  If not, their re-election didn’t get my vote. Although I was at times, still voting for the party affiliation I used to, that wasn’t always the norm. I began to vote for each candidate that I felt had my interests in mind. Yes, I had push-back from some family and friends, but I had to think about what I felt was going to be good for all of us. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. But my thoughts never strayed from my mouth unless I was asked. We all have our vote and it’s just as important for them as it is for me. I like to keep others in mind when I vote but I know that they must vote their feelings and what that means to others they know.

Let’s hope that we can all get to the polls in November and do the most important job there is.  Voting for us.

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