Sunday, December 11, 2016

Voting Matters

Some people vote for a candidate and some vote against one, other people look at the candidates and don’t bother to vote at all. That last group is the one I find most disturbing because they aren’t taking advantage of this nation’s heritage and the sacrifices of those who have gone before to secure their right to choose their leaders.

The excuses for not voting are many, including: “I just don’t have time”, “I forgot” and “My vote doesn’t matter”. The first two would seem to be a matter of time management but in reality all three are forms of “government doesn’t affect me”. If those who don’t bother or get around to voting understood just how much our government affects our lives I suspect plenty of them would be motivated.

I wonder how many of the 20 million people who now have health insurance but didn’t before the passage of the Affordable Care Act think who runs our government doesn’t matter. I wonder how many of the 750,000 Texans who have been denied the opportunity to enroll in Medicaid due to the intransigence of the Republican leadership of this state think who runs our government doesn’t matter.

In 2011, Texas cut public school funding putting tens of thousands of teachers out of a job and more importantly damaging the education of our children by over-crowding their classrooms. My daughter, who just graduated from high school in June, remembers how things changed because the Republican leadership refused to use the “Rainy Day Fund” that had been saved for just such an occasion. She’s very clear that those running our government affect our daily lives. My daughter will definitely vote in November and she’ll vote for the candidates who will work to make her life and the lives of her friends and family better.

Donald Trump’s claims to the contrary, those that didn’t have a job from 2001 to 2008 are much more likely to have a job today. People who had to work two jobs back then to make ends meet are 27% less likely to need to do that now. Those same workers on average earn more per hour and work an hour less per week than they did 20 years ago. More jobs were created during just President Obama’s first term in office than during George W. Bush’s two terms. Obama’s second term isn’t over yet and there have already been 8 times as many jobs created during his time in office than the entire time Bush was President. That also means the Affordable Care Act hasn’t killed jobs regardless of what our Republican officeholders would like you to believe.

Whether it is health care, education, or employment chances are your life or the lives of your loved ones has been affected by those who control our government. Your vote does matter and it matters to you and the ones you love. Be sure to exercise your right to vote. Be sure to vote for the candidates who have a record of making lives better for us all. I’m sure you know who they are by now.

 Published in the Seguin Gazette October 14, 2016

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