This piece is an editorial comment based on a history, comments, experience, opinion, and research. A few questions about voting are: Why do people vote? Why don’t people vote? Why do people vote in some elections and not others? What type of people typically vote and What type of people never or hardly ever vote? I know. The questions can go on indefinitely, but I’ll stop.
Please indulge me as I share a few answers before going on with why people should vote. Some vote because they believe it is their duty. Others vote because it is their right. Some don’t vote because they believe politicians are corrupt. Some say, “My vote doesn’t count.” What people believe is the truth to them.
Many years ago, perhaps during my college years, I used to say, “If all of the poor, disenfranchised, and marginalized people voted, we could vote and put in who we wanted. We could elect people who want to make things better for others, especially those who need a helping hand.”
Take a look, sometime, and look for information about voting or close elections. This is some interesting information. In one House of Representative race, it appeared one candidate led by four votes. After the recount it was won by a one-vote margin. There are states that had tie votes that were decided by tossing a coin. I said a coin toss. Unbelievable!
People need to register and come to the polls in masses so there is no tie vote to be decided by a coin toss. It is why you must vote.
Maybe both candidates should have served simultaneously. Imagine that. Two opposing sides working together to get things done for the people they serve, and I might add who elected them. What a novel idea. Sorry, I digress.
Why vote? … Let’s look at women voting after they won the right to vote. In some elections only 46% of women voted compared to 75% of men. So ,I will ask myself this question, “Hmm, who’s agenda was pushed with reference to making laws?” That trend has changed. In some elections, women are voting in more elections than men. To keep this narrative going, I will throw out some data from polls and you can ask yourself, and hopefully others, “Whose agenda will be pushed?”
Why vote? … Did you know those over 30 years of age vote at a higher rate than those 18-29 years of age. So, does a young person who is old enough to go to war want a 55-year-old setting the agenda for them?
Why vote? … Show me the money, the cash, the dough, the bread, the cheddar. You get the point. Approximately 48% of families with the lowest income in our country vote in some elections compared to 86% of people with the highest income in our country. As has been said in a phone ad, “Can you hear me now?” I am having a “Hmm” moment again. Hmm, which constituents’ voices will be heard loudest when it comes to policy, the rich or poor?
Why vote? … In the reignited era of Social Justice spurred on by unjustified deaths of unarmed black people, many people have started to awaken. Young, old, black, white, brown, rich, poor, and others began to see the atrocities of racial injustice, with its brazen boldness, was no longer trying to hide its hideous face. Some saw an ugliness they thought was long gone decades ago. It was now marching with a ferocity that many only heard of, but never saw or experienced. Citizens were outraged. Even those from other countries joined in the cry for justice in America.
Why vote? … The importance of voting is so critical now more than ever. As I sat and watched the “January 6th” hearings, my emotions were on full tilt at times, especially the day I listened to mother and daughter Shay Moss and Miss Ruby Freeman. Refer to the video if you did not see it as it aired. It was bad enough that they received death threats; but then to hear people entered the grandmother’s home saying they were looking for both the mother and daughter to make a “citizen’s arrest”! Such insolence to this senior citizen, as unknown men walked through her house with guns. If you are blessed to have a grandmother or older woman who loves you and you love her, think about her in that situation. That is why we must vote.
My truth about the matter, it reminds me of history when unwanted people entered a home and took fourteen-year-old Emmit Till. Just like one man said to Shay Moss, “Be glad it is 2020 and not 1920.” Understand the subtext of his stated threat. Some people want to go back to those days of fear, intimidation, and lawlessness. How is this possible? How can this happen now? How does this occur after John Lewis and others have taught us so much?
Wrong things do not have to happen. This does not have to occur. We must shift the paradigm and our behavior by going to the polls in masses. We have to go to the polls to stop the madness. Elected officials in nineteen states have enacted 34 laws and created 440 bills to restrict voting rights.
Re-read the previous information about who votes. Now, do you really want some of these elected people speaking for you? I have frequently said, “Everyone can’t speak for me.” I say that because some people speak on behalf of me, but they have their own interest at heart and not mine. As a matter of fact, when someone speaks with the wrong heart and wrong motives, they are a detriment to their fellow citizens and cause harm to the person, families, and communities.
Well, I have said my piece or at least some of it for today. It is imperative that we vote in masses. Good must prevail. Neither Black Panther, Superman, nor any other superhero is coming. You are it. You can do it. I can do it. We can make this happen. We can spread the word often and to many. Speak to friends and family across the country and world about voting. Those overseas can request an absentee ballot. Give someone a ride to the polls. Call to remind others when it is Election Day. Not only look at the candidates’ platform, look at their voting record. Does it align with your needs or beliefs?
In a Democracy sometimes the person we want wins; sometimes the person loses. Use your vote to elect a person who helps ensure laws that are not crazed, but appropriate for all.
This is why we must vote.
Submitted by LaFrancine Baker, 1st Vice-President, Freeport NAACP