(Wo)Man In The Mirror

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Why is our nation in such a mess?

Look in the mirror. Did you vote in the last election; the one that didn’t have a president running? Or did you shrug and say “it’s all rigged” and stay home? You are the reason our nation is falling apart. You allowed others to take away what should be the most cherished freedom of our country – the right to vote.

Our Congress is controlled by people voted in who have promised, and succeeded, in shutting down the government because a small percentage of people don’t like our mixed nation or progressive agendas. They are fearful and they vote in fear. These people vote against their own self-interests (disability, Social Security, Medicare, and other safety net programs) because they have been fed a steady diet of propaganda in the form of Fox News. These mostly white, older, under-educated Americans brought in the Tea Party candidates in 2010 and our country has suffered greatly. In 2014 it became even worse when they swept the Senate. They were all but invited because the majority of Americans couldn’t be bothered to vote in a non-presidential election.

So the blame lies directly on those of you who didn’t vote. YOU are the reason we are in this mess.

Now that we are back in a presidential race, voters who have been staying away are now supporting a candidate who speaks to them. That’s great, but why didn’t you do this during the non-presidential years? Why didn’t you support House and Senate candidates from your state who also spoke to you? Why didn’t you work to find candidates that supported issues you care about? It takes more than a President to make changes in this country, we have 3 branches of government and they all have checks and balances. When you have a sitting President trying to move forward (jobs legislation, help for veterans, banking reforms) but a Congress that is determined to stop him (as they have stated more than once), of course there is going to be gridlock. And you, the American voter, is the one who caused this. Because when you don’t vote, you let someone else vote for you.

Republicans win because Republicans vote. Democrats win in presidential years because that’s when Democrats and Independents get off their asses and actually make it to a voting booth. You want change? Then start getting involved. Learn the name of your local representatives in Congress and research their voting records. Don’t agree with their votes? Vote them out. Find candidates you support. Will they lose? Certainly, not everyone wins; that’s part of the process. You find the candidates who support your issues and then you work to help spread the word about them. If they connect, like Bernie Saunders did, then they will get the attention they deserve.

Does it suck that Bernie may not win the nomination? Yes, but that’s when you put on your big kid pants and support the nominee because they are still closer to your viewpoint that the opposing candidate.

Does it stink to vote for the lesser of two evils? Yes, but you hold your nose and do it. During the 1980s when Saint Ronnie Regan was destroying the country, I voted Democrat in every election knowing that it would be a battle. I never turned away from my responsibility to vote and I supported my candidates even when they didn’t win.

Taking your ball and going home because your candidate didn’t get chosen is childish and hurtful, both to you and to the issues you care about. Opting for a third party is hurtful to the nation; look what happened when Ralph Nader split the left-leaning vote in 2000 and we were stuck with W for 8 years. To all who voted for Nader in 2000, shame on you; you are partly responsible for the mess we are in today. Splitting the vote hurts everyone; we are a two-party nation because those two parties select and elect candidates. The other parties are more than welcome to organize, ask for federal funds, and create their own movement but don’t bash the other parties for being better organized and publicized.

And please don’t whine about the system being unfair. Don’t complain about a process that has been effect for 60+ years; you can work to change it after the election, not during it. Think about someone other than yourself. Which candidate is better for our entire nation? Who would you trust with our nuclear launch codes?

If you are serious about changing this country then start by understanding how our government works. Our vote DOES matter, we just have to get out there and pull the lever, fill in the bubble, mark the box. When you willingly give up the right to vote – a right that our military personnel fight and die for – then YOU are to blame for this country failing.

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