Change in America Starts in Your Community. Not Just With the President.

When starting a new post on Facebook, it always asks: “What’s on your mind, Angie?”

What was on my mind today went from a few sentences on Facebook to a full blog post. There is a lot going on in my brain that needs to get out.

One of those things is my dread over this election. Why? Because no one will be happy about who is elected for president. With an unfavorable outcome, and in the current time, what will result?  More protests? Riots? Another backlash?
We have become a divisive, inflexible, unfriending America — people who believe their way is the only way.  No compromising, no true kindness, no grace. 

There is another reason why I worry about this election: It is the education of the voters.  In my opinion, many voters today strictly vote with personal issues, passions, or just by party name. Is the vote cast solely for who the person is? Or is it what they stand for?  Or is it a vote of confidence because of past and current success, knowing that it could continue? 
If someone votes for a candidate (or does not vote for them) because of what was said during their campaign, how can we know the candidate is genuine? I mean, really?  Let’s look beyond what is said at rallies, on commercials, and in contentious debates. 
Political ads for higher offices are cringe-worthy to me. Each candidate promises that they are FOR this and WILL do this when in office. And it’s always the same issues. If they want me to re-elect them, why haven’t they already made good on those promises? If they want my vote, what have they done that can be measured to show they will work hard for their constituents?  How can they promise to be bipartisan when our Congress notably makes decisions along party lines?   
I’m also puzzled when I hear voters validate their choices by repeating talking points. In the era of fake news and news bias, why trust those sources (mostly opinion anyway) instead of investigating historical facts or real data instead? In the workplace, don’t we make the best decisions in that way? Why not in the voting booth? More voters need to express their own opinions instead of repeating others. 
Yesterday I read an Instagram post of a millennial who announced her vote for president. I applaud her, because today, that is a brave thing to do. She shared what she had discovered about herself, as a pro-life advocate, and how that related to her vote. She also shared her research that made her confident in her decision.
Although this brings up another question. In the past, this Instagrammer always voted for one particular party. Now she has voted the other party to cast her presidential vote. But what about the rest of the ticket? Did she vote straight party? Did her state allow her to vote differently for each political seat? Did she vote in local elections? 
In Texas, straight-ticket voting is not optional, so I have the option of choosing individually who I want for each political office when I go to the polls. That’s how voting should be. 
Unfortunately, we are lazy voters. We desire change, but many of us simply don’t do the work of investigating and reading about the candidates to make our best decisions at the ballot booth. As a result, we can leave someone inefficient in office because we didn’t know enough about the opposition to know if they are better. Sometimes, real change can only happen with a change in leadership. It may mean a change in a political party, or it may be choosing someone from a younger generation who wants to share current, more relevant ideas. Change requires boldness, and in reality, we aren’t sure we will like what could change, so we opt to vote for the status quo.  

There are members of Congress who have been in office WAY too long. For instance, our current leader of the House of Representatives, has been in office for 33 years. (She has represented three different congressional districts of California since 1987.) So much has changed in our nation since she was first elected. Now, it appears as though she has more of a personal agenda instead of working for change for her California constituents. Also, there are 11 other congress members who have also been in office for over 30 years. (The longest serving has 43 years in office.) That doesn’t look as though they are working for their state, but merely waiting to retire.
Yet, some of us continue to vote straight party or for the candidate names recognizable on the ballot. The status quo. Frustrating. 

What if we simply did not cast a vote for someone we don’t know anything about?  What if we boldly vote for someone new to make way for new ideas?  If your state’s voting laws say you can cross vote – then, by all means, use that to your advantage to choose those candidates you researched and want in office, regardless of party. This also goes for the office of president. Choose all one party for your state and another for president if you think that’s best.  Or – just leave the presidential vote blank. Who says you have to vote for president if either candidate compromises your morals and beliefs? 
As a Gen-Xer, it is discouraging to see that we have come to a status quo with our choices for President. Once again, we have two wealthy, Boomer-aged white guys to choose from to be our country’s president. One a life-long politician, the other a life-long businessman. One is for the economy, the other for social policies. Both have the answer to COVID_19. Both think they can make our lives better with their ideas and decisions. 

These two men really cannot relate to what our lives are like right now, can they? They are both from the Northeast: New York, Delaware, and now Washington DC. They haven’t lived in the Midwest or small-town America. They haven’t lived in the middle class for years, if ever.  They certainly aren’t minorities. Or immigrants. 

However, over the years, I have noticed one thing: Change in America starts locally with your vote toward your community. Not with your vote for the president.  

We are the only ones who know what our lives are really like.  We know what is needed for our families and what we want from and for our communities better than anyone else.  

When disappointed with national leadership choices on the ballot, let’s be well-versed in local, county, and state leadership. These votes give us a voice for our local communities and how we envision them. By voting accordingly, it will be those representatives who will make the most impact on our day to day lives. We have the opportunity to communicate with leaders at Town Hall meetings and advocate more effectively to make a change. We can be heard.

Half of the country will be unhappy after this election. Speaking for myself, if I make my best, informed choice at the poll, I can be comfortable with the outcome. 

Because the most significant changes in which I can be a part happens right where I live.  
Small-town Texas.
And that is what’s on
my mind today.

7 responses to “Change in America Starts in Your Community. Not Just With the President.”

  1. This election is life or death for some of the U.S. population. I am politically active because there are so many who have been pushed down by the system and it is crushing the life out of them. As a retiree, I could sit back and say “I've got mine and too bad about the rest of you.” Just can't do that.

  2. Thank you Martha. I have have voted every election as well, since I was 18 and my first time to vote will a mail-in ballot from college. Let's hope we never have to worry about voter fraud as well. We'll keep praying. God is in control, right?

  3. I am 71 years old and have voted in every local, regional, state and national election since I became voting age. This year scares me. We even have bickering at local level, not a good way to start being in office. I pray that whoever becomes President can work with all levels of politicians and make the USA a place to be proud of. Excellent post BTW

  4. I can see your point certainly! I have people tell me that if I don't vote for the president, “I'm wasting my vote.” My 23 yr old son is going to write in Andrew Yang, because he disagrees with both candidates. The point I wanted to make was that now we got to these two candidates, and there are so many more out there – on the Democratic side this election – that could have been a better choice. I think we settled on a candidate that may be opposite of the president now, but can't guarantee how he can improve the other things that really matter. We need more than just two major parties! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting Jeanine – I appreciate you!

  5. This election is the probably the most important in our lifetimes. I look forward to not being afraid about what's going on in the White House. We as a people may not agree on some issues but that is one I think many folk are focusing on right now. Over 210,000 dead and no end in sight… W We do need to really pay attention to our local officials — it matter who is running your town and county. Thanks for a thought-provoking post

  6. Oh my!! I think this election is WAY TOO SERIOUS not to vote for president. The choice will literally be a vote for what our country becomes post-election. You mentioned that the choice is between two white guys. Neither is a minority or an immigrant. True. But one candidate issued a direct rallying call on national tv for a white supremacist group he named to “stand back and stand by,” when asked to denounce white supremacy!!! Within an hour that group had created shoulder emblems with that rallying cry on it. And that is not something we heard about from the media, that we can then decide whether or not we'll believe it. If you watched, you saw and heard it. So the choice between presidential candidates is far more than just deciding which boomer white guy to vote for. You have to decide where you stand on white supremacy and racial equality and who stands with you. They are definitely not both on the same side of that issue! I'm a Gen Xer, too, by the way, and I agree that this nation is divided. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. We're at a fork in the road. May we all choose the direction that will make us safest as a nation and protect us from racist rule in the white house.

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