So I know it is a little last minute, but the elections today have voting on my mind. I might be a little all over the place in my haste to write this, so bear with me. Or don't, whatever.
These elections bring up all the conversations I have had with fellow Millennials about whether or not voting matters. Here's a hint: IT DOES.
Here in Texas, I always hear that because the state is predominantly Republican, it will always be that way and nothing will change that. Conservatives and liberals alike have dismal poll showings because of this line of thinking.
But what if voting did change it? Swing states weren't always swing states, ya know. Personally, I want to keep Texas red. However, low voter turnout from registered Republicans shows how even my like-minded peers are taking the political future of the Lone Star State for granted. Democrats are revving up to change the political climate of Texas. They could very well do so in the next few decades, IF they mobilize enough and Republicans are content in their false security of the majority.
Handfuls of votes have decided hundreds of elections, amendments, and legislation throughout the American history. Literally. (Correct use of the word--bonus points for me.)
**Enter obligatory historical anecdote:
Since we're talking about voting and I'm a girl, I mean, woman...meet Harry T. Burn, State Representative in Tennessee, whose ONE deciding vote made Tennessee the 36th state to approve ratification of the 19th amendment. In other words, because of him, women as mouthy as me, were given an actual voice through suffrage. Did you hear that?
WOMEN WERE ABLE TO VOTE AS EARLY AS 1920 BECAUSE OF ONE VOTE.
Anti-establishment feelings seem to be a particularly popular reason younger generations stay home from the polls. Gimme a break. Every time you refuse to exercise your vote, you are not bucking the system, sending a message to "the Man," or otherwise proving you are so totally too cool for school. You are just relinquishing your right to be heard and, in my opinion, dishonoring all those who have sacrificed their lives to ensure and protect your right to do so. Not to mention you are guaranteeing that others will make decisions without you ever giving any input and take money from your paycheck to enact them. C'mon, it takes less time to vote than it does to check labels for GMOs, gluten, and animal products on your weekly grocery run.
I could go on and on, but let's sum it up.
Don't like the old guy who has been in office for years and is out of touch with reality? VOTE.
Want a say in how much money is taken from your paycheck and what is done with it? VOTE.
Want to be able to legitimately complain about those establishment peeps in office? VOTE.
Passionate about certain issues and want to see your views represented? VOTE.
Want Kim Kardashian to disappear? VOTE. Ok, the government can't legally make that happen.
But if you really want your vote to matter there is only one sure way to do that. ACTUALLY VOTE.
In the 2012 Presidential election, roughly 40% of the population voted. That is about 127 million people out of 316 million. NOT EVEN HALF. But you didn't vote because it didn't matter, right? Wouldn't count anyway in your predominantly blue/red state, right?
Imagine the results if the other 60% had shown up! Imagine how much more accurately the views of the populace would be represented if a true majority participated in any given city, state, and national election.
The possibilities for our republic to work for us are endless, but voting is essential to making them reality.
For me it is simple: GO VOTE OR SHUT UP.