Americans are very strong-willed in their opinions and convictions. We are very proud of our beliefs, values, religious identities and core moral principles.
Political leaders are no different in their very opinionated and passionate manner. They are substantially more partisan than the general electorate. They are highly polarized in their beliefs, preferring to argue and debate over principle instead of being willing to compromise and negotiate toward common middle ground and solution.
However, many Americans are calling for our elected leaders to push past these differences and try to solve some of the nation’s critical problems — like drug prices, rising debt, healthcare, climate change and crumbling infrastructure.
People are beginning to recognize that gridlock can only last so long. We talk more and more about a desire for bipartisan bills and laws. We beg for the countless investigations and inquiries to end. We plead for cooperation for the sake of our future. We ask, tweet, write, protest and yell our desires for forwarding action and collaboration, but for some reason, we lack an essential “we” action: We vote.
Believe it or not, our elected leaders in Congress, our president, our local city councils and the dozens upon dozens of officials, judges and representatives that we vote for, get their paychecks, power and privilege from “we the people.”
In the 2018 midterm election, only 53.4% of the voting-age population in America voted, according to the United States Census Bureau. This was a record turnout for midterms in the last four decades. Additionally, only 36% of 18-29-year olds voted in that record turn-out election.
This, as a whole, is truly a shame. To indeed force our elected officials to compromise, lay down their slandering and make forward progress, we must vote out those who do not represent the people and select those who will represent the bulk of America, not just the radicals and reactionaries.
We need to vote, that is undoubtedly true, but all Americans should be informed voters when they go to the polls. Can citizens walk into the polls knowing nothing on any candidates and vote for whoever they want knowing nothing about their policies, character or goals?
Indeed, they can and have the right to, but should they continue this practice? No.
To bring about a government that is not led by individuals with self-interest, hyper-partisanship and polarized views, we must vet those for whom we vote.
We must take some time to read through the policies, previous judicial decisions and proposed ideas of the candidates running to represent us. Just because we can walk into a poll and blindly select a party-line option does not mean we should.
In order to bring about the change we want to see in our government, we must partake in informed voting. I beg you to participate in this quest for a responsive, cooperative government. We must vet and we must vote.