• Grace Rivers

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Vote in this Election

Voting is the one of the most important things you can do in your life.

I understand the reasons a person might not vote. They believe all politicians are corrupt and therefore it doesn't matter who is in office. They are very busy having fun, raising their kids, getting to work, going to school, taking care of their sick parent or child. However, you should still, without fail, vote in this election and this is why.

1. Because you love someone else on this planet, particularly a child.

Climate change is the most critical issue facing us in the world today. The world will hopefully, probably survive the lifetimes of people who are currently adults, although it is changing rapidly and may be dramatically different before we die. Areas that are inhabitable now, may not be so in the next few years. However, it is quite possible that it will not survive the lifetimes of the children alive now. I don't even have any kids, but I do care about them. I feel that it is my duty and my honor to leave those who come behind me a world that is viable. I would like leave them a physical world that is better than it was when I was born and I'm not sure that is possible now.

For my fundamentalist friends, those of you who don't worry about this because you think the second coming of Christ will come first. What if you are wrong? What if the second coming is a long way down the road, many generations from now? Don't you want to leave your children a world where they can live full lives? Also, if God made the light and darkness, plants and animals, water and earth and said it was good, do you think God intended for us to destroy it from greed, pride, envy or sloth? If God gave us dominion over the earth, we shouldn't we be treating the earth just like God treats us, with respect and caring, doing our best to optimize it's existence.

2. Because you believe in freedom.

Our forefathers, men and women of great courage, gave their time and often their lives for our freedom and human rights. Freedom to live where we want to live. Freedom over our bodies. Freedom from slavery. Freedom from discrimination and persecution. Freedom to earn a living and theoretically be equally-positioned to do so. Freedom to worship as we see fit. At this time, the political parties are on one side of this fence or the other. One is trying to take away those freedoms and the other is trying to preserve them.

3. Because you want to be Christ-like or you care about humanity.

First, our country is a country of immigrants. Philosophically, it is the right thing to do. From a practical perspective, it is what has made our country great - the blending and/or co-existence of our cultures, religions, ways of being and our souls. Christ would not be saying no you can't come here. He would welcome them fully.

Let them all come here. If the whole world wanted to come here, wanted to join in our grand democracy, it would be a good thing. Then we could have folks distribute back out into the rest of the world under a common political umbrella mirroring the, hopefully viable, US government structure across the world.

Although the US has many positive attributes, there are several that need improvement. The killing of African Americans, particularly by the very people that are supposed to protect them, the police, is unacceptable, shameful and absolutely not Christ-like. This needs to stop immediately. Similarly, the violence, abuse, subjugation and lack of respect applied to women also needs to stop.

Lastly, the injustice and inefficiency in the court system needs to be changed. We have shelves of rape kits untested and DNA tests undone. We have thousands of people in jail for smoking or selling pot. We have thousands of innocent people in jail simply because they could not afford to defend themselves properly during trial. We have police who fake evidence in order to get a conviction will little or no punishment when they are caught doing so.

4. Because you or a loved one wants or needs healthcare.

We as a country, and as a world, have more than enough resources to provide everyone with basic needs such as food, clothing, safety, a place to live, education and healthcare. It may not seem that way to many in their current existence. This is because the resources we've been provided are being wasted in wars and defense funds, political battles and just stupid decisions.

In September, Trump was planning to shift $260 million to pay for the cost to house the immigrant kids. Over $38 million has been spent in the senate race in Florida. Imagine how many people could have been fed, clothed and taken care of with those funds. All the money spent by governments in the world needs to be closely examined and re-appropriated to provide food, clothing, housing, education and healthcare to everyone.

5. Because you like or need money (if you are poor or middle-class)

The Republicans seem to consistently develop policies, processes and laws that drive more money to the wealthy. The recent tax policy decreased taxes for the wealthy people by 60% and decreased taxes for the poor and middle-class by 10%. They consistently try to reduce aid to the poor and middle-class in terms of healthcare, food, education, housing and more.

Welfare seems to just drive them crazy, thinking that there are people out there doing nothing or on drugs that get free funding or housing, etc. When in reality, if you look at the expenditures for these items, the amount is immaterial when you compare it to the cost for defense and the interest payments on the annual budget deficit.

Many wealthy people were lucky. Lucky they were born into wealthy families. Lucky they were white. Lucky they were men. Lucky they had normal or above-average IQs. Lucky they were not abused. Lucky they had good role models. Lucky they had someone who cared about them. Lucky they ran in the "right" social circles. Not everyone has had those advantages and our government and social mores need to be structured to provide similar opportunities to everyone.

This year is pivotal with regard to these issues - the planet's survival, your freedom, humanity's well-being, your own character, healthcare and your financial status. The two parties do differ on these critical issues. Everyone should vote. It matters.