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  • Madeline Ryan Smith

One Phrase that Endangers Democracy…

This past week I’ve spoken to all sorts of people; all different ages and walks of life. One common trend I saw was the amount of uninformed voters. Many people who did not think their vote mattered, or were told misinformation in the past. Even some who didn’t know elections were this year. It is important to note that in rural areas, this is often at the hands of the local government not being accessible or transparent.

I like to ask people why they choose to do the things they do; it’s the psychologist in me. I like to understand different perspectives and learn from people who aren’t like me. However, recently I’ve gotten a lot of “I don’t know”. When I’ve asked individuals why they voted for a certain person or if they know anything about other candidates, many people (including many of my peers) don’t know what to say.

The overwhelming excuse was “they had incumbent next to their name”.

Which translates to that dangerous phrase I mentioned… “We’ve always done it this way”

I wanted to take the time to explain why this is the last way you should be voting. Even if it comes down to party affiliation or if someone is the incumbent or not.

Take a moment and just think about all the change America has gone through. The emancipation of slaved people, the Women’s vote, the civil rights movement, the creation of the ADA, etc. Now imagine if at those times, politicians just said “We’ve always done it this way, so there’s no need to change”

America would be one scary place to live!

Electing someone just because they’ve done the job before, doesn’t mean they will do the job correctly. Politicians are not required to vote in best interest of the people, or the way they are told and often they choose not to. In our area, many incumbents are career politicians, and have been the incumbent for decades.

I have this opinion even when my own party holds seats for more than 2 terms. Our country was designed to allow community members to run for office. It was designed so no specific group of people holds all the power.

However, our government was also originally designed to be something only white, straight, Protestant men could be a part of.

We the people of the United States decided over time that we wanted change. We stopped voting for the incumbents and started voting people who wanted change into office. We are at a very similar time now.

This year, we must all have an informed vote. We must vote for candidates that are part of our community, that listen and ask questions. People that are in our same tax brackets, and can actually relate to the people who live in an area. That is how progress and change occurs.

I’m sure if you’ve been following our grassroots campaign, I sound like a broken record. But, that is just how important it is to make sure you and your families get to the polls.

If you would like to learn more about the candidates on your ballot, you can find a sample ballot for your area here.

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