Listen, friends. We live in difficult times, for our republic, our state, and our city. It’s hard to keep up with all the news, all the outrages and terrors and (sometimes) victories and (sometimes) failures and even the simple decisions that turn out to have enormous consequences. It is impossible to stay alert to everything all the time. That’s okay; you can take a break from the news, from being engaged and active.
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But not today. Today, you need to do one thing, for all our sake: Vote. Yes, we say this every single time. That’s because every single time it matters, just as much as the last time. Why? There’s a whole host of reasons that begins with: Because you can.
Need some more convincing? How about this:
- Because even if you don’t think it’s true, it is: This election is important. Not only are we setting up the state’s highest race, we’re deciding who gets the chance to represent us in Congress, in Harrisburg—and in our neighborhoods, through committeeperson elections. That’s the trifecta—national, state and local races at stake.
- Because literally hundreds of people took the plunge and put themselves out there to run for office. The least you can do is encourage them by casting a ballot.
- Because the ballot questions this time are actually sensible and simple to understand and about our real lives: Should we put some money behind our police advisory commission, to helps civilians shape the way police behave? Should we let City Council oversee and empower the new school board? Should we mandate sexual harassment training for all city employees?
- Because this year, there are a lot of women running for office—more than in any other time in history. And some of those women have a chance of winning the general election in November—taking us from zero women representing PA in Congress to…some.
Politicians listen to the people who show up, with checks to be sure, but also with the power given to every citizen: Their vote.
- Because these midterm elections are referenda on our national political situation, a harbinger—at least in theory—of how the country is headed two years after Donald Trump took office. More than that, they have the power to affirm or deny what we see happening in Washington. More than that, they have the power to change what is happening in D.C.
- Because we have seen change, and it looks like Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart; they’re in office because we voted them in. That’s an awesome power that could reshape our city.
- Because it’s fun. There’s something a little thrilling about shutting that curtain, watching the little blinking lights go still, and then pushing that big blue VOTE button. I get chills just thinking about it.
- Because, as we’ve said before, just showing up to vote sends a signal to the powers that be that you—and your demographic—should not be ignored. Politics and politicians seem out of touch? That’s because they see no reason to care about you, since you see no reason to vote—for or against them. They listen to the people who show up, with checks to be sure, but also with the power given to every citizen: Their vote.
The person you vote for today could become the next Mayor, or Senator or—even—President. They all started somewhere.
- Because voting is a habit. The earlier you do it, the more likely you are to keep doing it. Now is as good a time to start (or continue) as any. And take your children; they learn by example, you know.
- Because while your single vote may not be the deciding vote, close elections mean a few votes can make the difference—look at Conor Lamb in Western PA, or Perry Warren in Newtown. If just a few more people had stayed home—or shown up—they could have swung the other way.
- Because enough is enough on being a national embarrassment for how our politicians in Harrisburg behave; a statewide embarrassment for failing to show up when our votes alone can swing all of Pennsylvania; and an international embarrassment for how little we care about voting.
- Because if you don’t, the Democratic party machine—and its operators—will decide everything.
- Because pretty soon those of us at voting age now will be outnumbered by the young people coming after us. Now is your chance to make the impact you want to make, before it’s too late.
- Because as FDR said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
Even if you don’t think it’s true, it is: This election is important.
- Because, in actuality, that may not be true. Some politicians try all the time to make voting harder for people, especially if those people are of color or poor. Voting is the only way to make them go away.
- Even if you don’t think it’s true, it is: This election is important.
- Because if you’re dismayed by our current President, then you should know that Pennsylvania let down the country by not showing up in the numbers needed for a Clinton victory. She lost the state by just 46,000 votes, at a time when turnout in Philly—at just 64 percent—was lower than in both 2008 and 2012. Think about this: Philadelphia has the power to sway the state, if we use it.
- Because if you’re happy about our current President, then it’s no time to slack off. See above for how Philadelphia can swing the swing state, with its 7 to 1 Democratic advantage. And see above for how that didn’t happen for the Democrats in 2016.
- Because the person you vote for today could become the next Mayor, or Senator or—even—President. They all started somewhere.
- Because this is America. Let’s not squander it.