Some people think only presidential elections matter. They think its only important to vote once every four years. From my experience nothing could be further from the truth.
First if you understand how our government works, you know all three branches are important. We vote for the president and he determines the executive branch. The president chooses the judges for the judicial branch and the congress, the legislative branch has the final vote to approve them. The judicial branches makes judgements of the laws passed by the legislative branch and signed by the executive branch, the president. They are all connected and our vote determines who they are and what they do.
The people we put in these positions make decisions that determine how we will live. For example in the 1890s the congress and the president passed laws saying separate but equal accommodations was equal justice. The Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson upheld the law. Fifty years, two generations later, following years of discrimination, the law was reversed with the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
Since the laws these people pass and approve not only effect you but your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren I think voting should be taken seriously. That’s how it was with those separate but equal laws. Laws that were passed when my great grandparents could not vote would determine the schools I could attend more than fifty years later.
We must take these laws seriously because they impact us in so many ways. Laws passed by our representatives even effects are jobs.
In the 60s they passed civil rights acts regarding voting, housing, transportation, etc. but those acts were not implemented immediately. The 1964 Civil Rights Act made employment discrimination illegal. But it took black Congressmen like Mickey Leland, William Clay, John Conyers and more to make it work.
I can remember working for a major telecommunications company that was discriminating against blacks and women. It took a consent decree, the justice department and support from congressmen to get that changed. When companies approached the government for rate changes, government contracts, etc. they would be pressured to show how they complied with the laws. This is the reason many of us can work in corporate America or for the government today because companies were pushed by our representatives to comply with the law.
The changes fought for in the sixties, implemented in the seventies, and challenged in the eighties didn’t just happen on their own. They are the result of citizens caring about their lives, their government and their children’s future. The extent to which we understand this will determine if we must repeat the same lessons again.
I’d suggest all citizens take an interest in their government, all three branches. We do this by getting involved, researching, speaking up and voting. In my short life I’ve seen things change as a result of citizen participation. I’ve seen voices and votes transform our government.
I encourage you to vote not just every four years, but whenever there is an election for anything. Do your civic duty and VOTE!