There are officially 26 days left until Election Day; are you surprised? I hope you’re all registered to vote – if not, visit http://registertovote.org/ to get more information on registering in your state. Need help finding a polling place, or dates for early voting? They can help with that, too. Browse the site and make sure you’re prepared for November 6. Need more information about the candidates? Electful.com is a good resource, but I think you’d be best served by reading a variety of well-rounded sources to form your own opinions.
Someone somewhere once said that the secret to keeping peace is to avoid discussing religion and politics. Although I agree with that sentiment to some extent (who among us hasn’t valiantly debated our own principles and beliefs? or yelled “GIVE ME A FACT-CHECKER”! during a presidential debate? I can’t be the only one), I also disagree a little bit. I think there’s an enormous difference between a healthy, respectful conversation and an ideological brawl. I have very firm stances on many major issues and I’ll gladly discuss them with anyone who wants to banter (Merriam-Webster and I have the same definition of banter: to speak to or address in a witty and teasing manner; my point, I try to keep it light). What I won’t do is try to convince anyone they’re wrong or that their views are unreasonable – not because I don’t ever think that (I’m human, after all, and quite stubborn), but because I know that no one ever changed another person’s mind in a one-session political conversation, let alone by insulting him. There’s a Sister Hazel song with a relevant line: “… your opinion, what is that? A different point of view.” BAM. Well, wrap up my long-windedness; they said it in 10 words.
TL;DR? What am I really saying here? Be engaged. Be firm in your stances. Be educated about all the ramifications your vote will have. Be aware of your candidate’s party’s platform. Most importantly, VOTE. I know everyone says this; everyone wants you to vote, but why? Why should each and every American leave their house and cast their ballot? Because a vote is the great equalizer. Every vote carries the exact same weight, whether you’re struggling or a billionaire. My vote is precisely equal to the votes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, Charles Koch, Michael Bloomberg, and even Mitt Romney and Barack Obama themselves — and so is yours. Maybe that’s not the way everyone would like it to be, but that’s the way it is. Make it count!