politics

COLUMN: Your vote matters, so use it



It’s time to choose a president. Many Americans have already cast their votes for the next national leader, and many others will do so Tuesday. If you haven’t already, please get informed — then get to the polls and join them.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t trust Hillary Clinton and despise Donald Trump. Policy matters, and the policy that will pass through Capitol Hill in the next four years could change the direction of our country.

There’s nothing more disappointing to me than hearing the reasons people decide not to vote. They wouldn’t feel ethical electing their party’s candidate, or neither candidates represent their religious beliefs. Maybe they don’t like anyone on the ballot and figure they’ll wait for the next election to be involved once more. They think their vote doesn’t matter.

Here’s my counterpoint: This election is bigger than your ethical or religious reservations. Yes, the president only has four years in office, but the relationships — or enemies — made during those four years can have decades-long effects, not just on you but on the world.

For example, we’re still dealing with repercussions of President George W. Bush’s decision to declare a war on Iraq. President Obama’s efforts to reopen the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba could also have lasting effects — as could his targeted airstrikes that killed civilians in the Middle East. People live and die by the president’s decisions.

And, your vote does matter — even if you vote for a third-party candidate. While, statistically, there is very little chance your third-party candidate will be elected, your vote could prevent one major party candidate from winning. Say Clinton wins 45 percent of the vote, Trump wins 40 percent, and two third-party candidates share 15 percent. Even though Clinton doesn’t have the majority, she wins the election.

If you aren’t fully aware of the issues, isidewith.com is a great resource for figuring out your political alignments. Ontheissues.org and politifact.com are also helpful for discerning the policy ideas of each candidate.

Do your civic duty, I beg of you. At the very least, voting means you’ll have the right to complain for the next four years if your candidate loses.

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