Have you ever thought.. my vote doesn't matter so why hassle with it? Or have you decided not to vote because you didn't want to wait in line or drive to your designated polling location? Have you ever chosen not to vote, but then found yourself getting angry about the course of action an elected official took? It is crucial for everyone to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot... even in midterm elections like the one coming up in November. After all the ballots are counted, someone is going to win whether you take part or not.
The Midterms Elections typically have small turnouts, but this November needs to be different if Democrats want to keep the Senate and make a substantial move in the House. To accomplish that goal, everyone will need to put the excuses aside and vote. Citizens, whether Republicans, Democrats or Independents, all have much to gain by voting for politicians who are interested in the good of the country: interested in working together, listening to each other and compromising. So, take a stand, get involved and go to the polls to choose the candidate that best represents you and your interests.
If you are part of the LGBT community or support marriage equality, make sure you know where your candidate and their party stand on equality issues. Did you know that a draft of the Texas Republican Party's platform cuts language claiming homosexuality "tears at the fabric of society" but recognizes the "legitimacy" of so-called reparative therapy to "escape from the homosexual lifestyle?" Did you know that the Texas GOP's stand could become the national GOP stand? If you are a Log Cabin Republican, please explain to me how you can support both the GOP and your partner.
If you are a woman, please enlighten me on how you vote for a party that wants to control your life in the bedroom and the office? How do you vote for a party that didn't support the Violence Against Women Act? The GOP wants to take away your right to choose the best course of action for your body, doesn't want to pay you an equal wage for equal work, wants to cut food stamps to the needy and won't assist you if a violent crime is committed against you. While you may be pro-life, do you support extremists who think abortion should be banned even in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother's life? If you are opposed to abortion, are you also opposed to contraception, welfare, and unwed teenage mothers?
When you vote, remember that the Republicans closed Planned Parenthood in many states, limiting options for many women, especially in rural areas, for mammograms and other medical care.
Are you interested in good health insurance for you as well as others? Did you know that almost all the red states turned down the Medicaid expansion, costing these states billions in federal dollars, reducing health care and costing jobs for thousands? Taxpayers in red states do pay into the system, but unfortunately all the benefits of the Medicaid expansion go to blue states.
Despite the Republicans attempts to repeal the ACA 50+ times and turning down the Medicaid expansion, the latest jobs report suggests that the broader economy -- and the health care sector, specifically -- are adding jobs at a brisk rate. Since March 2010, when the ACA was signed, the healthcare industry has added nearly a million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are a minority citizen, an immigrant or a person who embraces diversity, do you realize that the Republican Platform does not support immigration reform? In addition, the GOP is actually taking steps to make it more difficult for minorities to vote and earn a living wage. I believe if African Americans and Hispanics do not come out to vote this November, the clock could be turned back to the era of Jim Crow laws or worse.
Veterans have historically voted Republican. Have you noticed that the GOP, however, is more interested in sending our soldiers to war than taking care of them when they return? Consider the Republican view on benefits, homelessness and job creation once our heroes come back home.
If you drive a car, have a house, or own a business, do you ever consider alternative energy sources or the cost of oil? Democrats support the research and development of alternative energy rather than depending on foreign oil. The United States' own resources along with wind and solar can solve our energy problems if we invest in that technology and it would create good jobs at home.
If you are part of the working class, and tired of struggling to make ends meet, are you coming out to vote for the candidate that represents you and your best interest? Republicans continue to deny workers a living wage, health care and a safe working environment. Did you know that most Congressional members are millionaires? How can the GOP choose to deny an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for average Americans?
When did America become an oligarchy or plutocracy, rather than a democratic republic? When did what Citizen's United, the Koch Brothers and the NRA want mean more to Congress than what their constituents who voted them into office want? Maybe it's time to vote these opportunists and obstructionist out, and vote for candidates who care about rebuilding the middle class, generating jobs and creating a prosperous, healthy country.
When did a majority mean that one person, like John Boehner or Ted Cruz could completely stop our government from functioning, even though the majority of Congress and the American people want them to work together and get things done? Why does it now take 60 votes for a majority in the Senate rather than 51?
Americans should stop accepting the status quo and begin to demand answers to these questions. They should come out this November and vote for candidates that represent their values and their best interest. The far right extremists are well organized and will turn out the vote... the good news is they are a minority. If Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans vote in 2014, we can win and start making a difference!