Our Vote Is Our Voice

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There is so much talk about the dissatisfaction of our leaders and our moral code. Are things really so different or is more information available through advances in technology? All news has become breaking news. Social media has become a community to vent frustrations. Does any of the noise being projected matter? One sure way of being heard is on Election Day. Breaking news: our next election day is November 7.

The Las Vegas mass shooting, as horrific as it is, dominated the media reports for a week. The coverage remains static with no direction in addressing the problem and finding meaningful solutions. The louder those opposing the gun control laws as they exist, the more stubborn supporters push back in defending a constitutional right. In essence a smoke screen covers the current issues of the day.

How many of us are aware that Congress passed legislation that would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy? This is more than a Pro Choice vs Pro Life issue. Do we value our free speech? Are we able to speak our truth, hear opposing positions from those who are different from us, experience peaceful protests and live side by side as citizens? It no longer is merely a right vs left issue. There is also a division in the mist of these groups. So the question is “Do we wish to live in an OPEN or CLOSED society? Are our western values disappearing? Are we taking our bedrock beliefs for granted? What do we need to do, how do we need to view the future?

With all the gains our country has made in the name of freedom, there is a movement to undo it! What part of Freedom for all is being lost? Our minds keep working to do and then undo. When are we going to get it done? What does it look like? What we do know is that freedom is not free. It is imperative that the new doing and undoing take a fresh approach with a design where America comes together in liberty and justice for all.

Young people, we need your voice to be heard. Our democracy prevails as the process unfolds and redefines itself. We need to overcome low voter turnout in off-year elections by turning our frustrations and disappointments to serve as a motivating force to get out the vote.

So, who votes and why do they vote? Baby Boomers have a romantic notion of their activism. Surprisingly young voter patterns are right on par with the young baby boomers in their time, as reported by CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University). It also shows that both generations are about 31% of the overall electorate. Millennial had a low turnout of any group at 46%, however, they are maturing and will transition to more consistent voters.

Connie Flanagan, developmental psychologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, says voting is habit forming.” Once you’ve made your first vote, it becomes a part of your routine. Everyone you know votes, it feels like a moral and civic obligation.” She states, “We are influenced by how we feel rather than what we are told to do.”

The elections are approaching and many issues will have a direct impact on us depending upon who wins the election. Our state and local legislators represent us and make decisions that affect our lives, especially when many want to break away from big government. With that said, spread the word, remind each other to show up, vote your conscience, vote for the future.

Roseann Petropoulos


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