- Posted September 9, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Economy: Are you better off?
In his Democratic National Convention (DNC) speech on Thursday night President Obama spoke again about Hope and Change. Not in one joint statement, but scattered throughout his speech. Hope stemming from real Americans and their stories. Change derived from everyday Americans and not from Barack Obama. Much has been said by candidate Obama and President Obama. Even more by his surrogates. In his speech he attempted to do the smart thing: distance himself from the stigma of his past and set a path forward for the possibility of his future. He spoke time and time again about what could be achieved if he were given a second term. He made a plea. A meaningful full plea to the American people to give him a second chance to do what he set out to do since before 2008. His plea wasn't directly though to vote for him. It was to vote for a set of ideals and principles, and at it's essence to just vote.
For decades it's been said that voting doesn't mean anything. Especially not with the Electoral College in play. Over 306 million Americans and ultimately the decision of who runs the greatest nation on earth is left up to a proportionately handful of "delegates"? That's ludicrous. My own partner refuse to vote for that reason. I'm here to make the case for why you need to vote this year. I don't want you to vote for Obama or for Romney though. I want you to vote for yourself, for your principles, for your future. For many of us that means what we could do in four years and for many more that means what our children can do in twenty years. Both candidates have big plans for this country whose implications can be felt for decades to come. Healthcare, Energy, Labor, Foreign Relations, the Economy and yes.....Taxes. All of it hangs in the balance this year. This is truly a decision to fundamentally change the nation.
Fundamentally. It's so overused. We hear it everywhere from everyone. "They (Barack Obama/Mitt Romney/Republicans/Democrats) will fundamentally change the (country, social program, war, future, past, etc). It sounds scary and that's why it's used. That's not what is really scary. What is scary is the thought that the true intentions of such an emotional people will not be recognized. It won't be because of voter suppression but because of voter inaction. Barring certain circumstances everyone in America today has a right to vote. These aren't just rights that we had given to us but rights that literally thousands died for. From pre-George Washington to post Barack Obama these rights will always be fought for. Freedom isn't free, and it doesn't last easily. America has demonstrated an impressive resolve but that outlook is slowly fading.
Rewind the clocks back to the election of 2000 when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore for the presidency. Al Gore was running as an incumbent Vice President trying to become a President fresh off what was by most standards a successful two term presidency. It all came down to Florida. A winner was announced, a court case arose and a decision was made. Ultimately it came down to votes. He who owns the most votes should win the election right? Well not so much. The Supreme Court made the decision for America, based off what evidence they were privy to. The exact motivations can be debated from now till kingdom come but the real lesson from the Bush v. Gore case cannot. It was that every vote does count. It's one of the most contentious decisions and most would tell you they don't expect the courts to make a decision in defiance of the "arithmetic" again. What I'm getting at is the votes. Every vote counted then. It came down to thousands of votes in a state with millions of citizens. Your vote counted in Florida then, and who knows it can count in any state now. Most news outlets agree that the election is close and will remain so until election day. In poll after poll both Romney and Obama remain neck and neck. Whatever poll bounce from their respective conventions they had will be gone come October and it will be back to basics. Democrats are spreading a doomsday message about voter supression and Republicans are spreading the same message about an Obama second term. It will all come down to a few thousand votes in a few key states. Every vote will matter. Especially in this election.
Great strides have been made for the advancement of America over the last century. National parks, healthcare (nationally and otherwise), economic growth, roads, wars, diplomatic relations, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, corporate freedom. Everything that we know today was achieved and finalized not 100 years ago but less than that! It took over a hundred years of work and sacrifice but it wasn't achieved until just recently. There are great men from both sides of the aisle that have had the honor of holding the office of the presidency. As you may have gathered from earlier reports I am a democrat. As a democrat some of my biggest role models were professed republicans. I look up to the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and yes sometimes even Richard Nixon. Republicans and democrats today differ on a lot of subjects and oftentimes the hostility between the two has been so extreme it seemed there would be no end, yet the one thing that every great republican and democrat can agree on is that you have to vote. You cannot sit idly by as others make decisions that would impact your life. If you have the attitude that this isn't your time or your fight you will spend your entire life wondering how a law as stupid as Citizens United was ever passed. What you won't realize was if you had paid attention that one November and taken just ten minutes to vote it could have been prevented. I implore you to vote, I beg you to care. What happens in November will impact us all and we cannot afford to sit idly by as our nation is changed. Make your voice heard. Be loud, be wild, be the change you want to see.Burn that midnight oil, toil away into the wee hours of the night. Do what millions of Americans before you have done and cast your ballot for what you believe in. Take an hour a day to learn about the candidates, and then on November 7th take ten minutes to vote. Vote as if your life depends on it, because for some countries and for many people it does.