Walking around campus I have heard the same line countless times: “I don’t like any of the candidates so I’m not going to vote.” I have worked hard to keep my rant to myself, but I can’t hold it in any longer.
I don’t care if you vote for Trump, or Hillary, or Johnson, or Bernie, or the man on the moon.
But I want you to vote.
I don’t care if you don’t vote for the president (although you should). This election isn’t just choosing the better of two bad candidates—it’s figuring out which one will do their best to keep us from getting blown up and allow us to keep the rights that matter to us.
Your choice of president may already be rigged (oops, I said it), although not by Hillary, despite what Donald Trump might say. It’s rigged by the Electoral College system. If you live in Massachusetts or New York, or many other states, your state is already going to vote blue, meaning democratic for Hillary, simply because your state heavily leans left and the electoral votes will likely go that direction, unless a whole lot of people vote for Trump. If you live in Vermont, a green and blue state, your votes will still likely go democratic since the green party candidate, Jill Stein, is polling at a sad 1-3%, depending on which poll you check.
I don’t care you if you vote for president, but I do care if you don’t vote at all.
Regardless of who you choose for POTUS, make sure you vote for your local leaders (select board, city council, state representatives, governor etc.). These people, especially in small towns, rely on the few voters that do turn out. Many small town elections are won by a handful of votes, and the actions of these officials are the ones who actually affect your daily life. These are the people who choose where your town tax dollars go. They decide to improve the school in your town, or fix a bridge, or buy a firetruck–things that will directly affect your life and lives of those you care about.
The next governor of Vermont will have a lot of power regarding gun reform, immigration, legalization of marijuana, renewable energy sources and so on. So don’t you want a say in who makes these choices?
If you live in a state with ballot questions, like my home state of Massachusetts, you have a chance to have a voice in legislation. In Massachusetts we are voting to legalize recreational marijuana use. That’s huge. And the power is being given to the voters. This isn’t voting for representatives who vote for you, but instead it’s your direct vote counting toward what you want or don’t want.
Finally, voting is a right and freedom we have that many people of the world don’t. Women have only had the right to vote for 97 years. All blacks were not allowed to vote until 1965. There are professors at Castleton who were born before 1965.
So don’t vote because you like Hillary or Trump, or hate Hillary or Trump– vote because you have the right to choose who governs your state and town. And in my opinion, that’s important.