Voting In Midterm Elections Is Just As Important As Voting For The President

Voting In Midterm Elections Is Just As Important As Voting For The President

Stop procrastinating and go register to vote!

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With Florida's gubernatorial primary coming up on August 28, now is the perfect time to register to vote so you can not only choose the governor, but also the senator and members of the Florida House of Representatives. One of the things I looked forward to the most last year about turning 18 was being able to vote, but it has been worrying me that I have not seen many other young people interested in voting. I either see people say that they only care about presidential elections or that do not care about politics at all. Both of these sentiments are incredibly misguided because voting in midterm elections is just as important - if not more so - than voting for the president.

I can understand thinking that the race for president is the only election that matters because some people make it seem like the President of the United States is the only politician with significant power in our country. Even though the president is the leader of our country, the members of the House and the Senate are crucial to our government as well. In order for laws to be passed, they must have the support of the House, the Senate, and the president. Of course, the president can also create an executive order, which Congress does not have to approve, but in general, bills have to have congressional approval in order for them to become laws. It is critical to vote in midterm elections because, in order for you to actually see the changes that you want in our government, you have to vote in people that have the same views as you do. If enough Americans vote for candidates that are all members of the same political party, such as voting mostly Democrats into Congress, then there is the potential for massive amounts of change.

When the party that has control of Congress is the same party as the current president, it becomes much easier for legislation to be passed because the majority of the members have the same views as the president. However, the opposite is also true. If the president's opposing party has control of Congress, then there will be more resistance to any bills that members of the president's party introduce. You cannot expect to only vote for the president and see the change you want in the country, because the president can only go so far without support from Congress. This may be a good thing, depending on how you view the current president, so just be mindful of the power that your vote has and how you can influence the direction that the country goes. If you are opposed to the views that Trump has, then you should want to do everything in your power to vote in politicians that disagree with him and his party so that it would be harder for them to pass the legislation that they desire.

Arguably, one of the politicians that will be able to directly affect you the most is the governor of your state. The gubernatorial election should not be one you ignore, because the governor will be the one that can make huge changes to your state. Some of the responsibilities of governors include passing or vetoing bills, creating a budget for their state, and nominating officials to serve in state executive branch positions. You should vote for a governor that you believe in because then you will be able to see your vote truly making a difference in your own community.

Below, I will be linking some websites that will give you a rundown of each Florida candidate's platform so that you can make an informed decision this election season. If you are not yet registered to vote in the state of Florida, you can do so here. If you need an absentee ballot, you can have one mailed to you by clicking here.

Encourage your friends, family, classmates, and anyone else to vote because it is your way of making your voice heard in our government.

Florida Governor's Race Candidates

Florida Senate Race Candidates

How to find your congressional district and a list of Florida candidates in each district

Cover Image Credit:

Mirah Curzer

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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