Why You Need to Vote

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The 2018 midterm elections are coming up, and while it’s always extremely important to vote, it is especially crucial to do so in the upcoming midterm elections on November 6, considering the current dangerous state of our country.

Let’s recap a few of the things that have gone down since the last election, which was the 2016 presidential election:

  • January 2017: The most significant event that has drastically affected our country in so many ways…Trump is inaugurated and becomes the 45th President of the United States, throwing the country into a polarized tailspin.
  • January 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration: Marches across America, specifically the Women’s March on Washington. Hundreds of thousands of people flood the streets of Washington D.C., protesting against Trump’s inauguration and the danger it means for the future of women’s rights in America.
  • May 2017: Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign begins.
  • June 2017: Trump pulls out of the Paris Agreement. The agreement brings together different nations under one cause: to combat climate change. By withdrawing from the agreement, the U.S. will not help finance plans to fight climate change and help the environment.
  • July 2017: Trump’s plan that would repeal Obamacare just barely fails to pass in the Senate. Senator John McCain has the swing vote, his vote ‘no’ is the deciding factor in the outcome. For a minute, the country is able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
  • August 2017: Trump greatly increases tension between the U.S. and North Korea when he threatens that North Korea will face “fire and fury” from the U.S. if they attack the country with nuclear arms. This implants a great sense of fear into our country. The public is terrified by the president’s use of such extreme language when talking to a country ruled by an unhinged dictator who is armed with nuclear weapons, and when dealing with a situation that is so severely delicate and dangerous; a situation that could mean mass violence, death and the possible annihilation of our nation.
  • August 2017: A white nationalist and neo-Nazi rally happens at the University of Virginia. The protest is triggered by the potential removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general from the Civil War. White supremacists protest for an all-white and all-Christian country. Anti-protestors soon arrive, and things turn violent. A white nationalist drives his car into a crowd of anti-protestors, killing one civilian. Trump is criticized for not publicly condemning the white supremacists. He receives public backlash for his comment that there is blame on “both sides,” meaning the white supremacists and the anti-protestors are both at fault for the death of the civilian in the protest.
  • September 2017: Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico, completely devastating the country. Around 3,000 people are killed. People are without power or running water for months. Trump boasts about how much the U.S. has done to help Puerto Rico in the wake of destruction from the hurricane. Puerto Ricans respond to this comment, saying that Trump has barely done anything to help the poor living conditions in which they are struggling to survive.
  • October 2017: There is a shooting at an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas. A gunman from a hotel window kills at least 59 civilians and wounds hundreds more. Afterwards, police find that the gunman had more than 23 firearms in his hotel room. Trump says he will be looking into increasing gun control laws, but does nothing to follow up on this statement.
  • October 2017: The birth of the #MeToo movement. Actresses begin to come forward with sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. From there, more and more women in media come forward and accuse men of sexual assault. Many of the allegations are proved to be true. Many famous men’s histories of sexually assaulting women in the workplace are exposed. The movement gains momentum and widespread coverage. Women find a new sense of power and confidence in their ability to speak out against their sexual assault perpetrators.
  • February 2018: High school shooting in Parkland, FL. A 19-year-old male school shooter kills 17 students and wounds more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragic event incites the survivors of the students to rise up and protest against gun violence. Tension increases between gun control supporters, the NRA, and President Trump.
  • March 2018: The March For Our Lives protest advocating for more gun restriction laws in the U.S. takes place in Washington D.C. near the capital, as well as other cities across the country. There were hundreds of thousands of protestors at the D.C. march, and several students who survived the Parkland shooting gave speeches to the crowds.
  • June 2018: The Supreme Court rules in favor of Trump’s Muslim travel ban. This is an immigration policy that bans people of certain Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) from traveling to the U.S. While many Americans believed this law to be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court’s vote narrowly ruled to uphold it.
  • June 2018: It’s revealed to the public that ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) officials have been separating children from their parents who are crossing the U.S. border illegally, sending the parents away and keeping their children detained in camps. It’s also revealed to the public that this separation of families policy is the result of an order given by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had said to adopt “a zero tolerance policy” for illegal immigrants trying to cross the border into the U.S. Trump fully supports the policy. Later in the same month, Trump signs an order to stop this policy.
  • September-October 2018: A professor comes forward with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Judge nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, which throws the nomination into question. The professor, Christine Blasey Ford, claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party while they were both in high school. Her claims are supported by substantial evidence. Trump verbally roots for Kavanaugh and mocks Ford’s testimony. A hearing is held before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where both parties testify. Despite the allegations against him, Kavanaugh becomes the newest Supreme Court judge after the senators vote 50 to 48 in favor of Kavanaugh being on the Supreme Court. Americans question just how much the country has evolved from its patriarchal roots.

Clearly, a lot of significant events have occurred in the U.S. since Trump was elected president back in 2016. It’s the way in which many of these events were handled, however, that leaves us questioning how different things could be now in our nation, had we been under a different administration these past two years.

Now it’s 2018, and the midterm elections are rapidly approaching. The midterm elections determine the members of the House of Representatives, the U.S. senators, and the city mayors. To put it simply, they determine who will assume important and influential positions in our government.

There is much at stake. As a democracy—a country whose basis is founded in the idea that all men are created equal, that all citizens have a right to use their voices, that all Americans are entitled to basic and fundamental human rights—we, as American people, must use our voice in this upcoming election to fight against the ways in which the administration has undermined the democratic values that we have always held so close for the past two years.

Choosing not to vote as a qualified voter isn’t remaining neutral; it’s an action that is severely detrimental to the democracy in which we are privileged to live. It’s taking for granted the rights we have as American citizens. It’s ignorance in the highest form.  

So vote. If you’re not from the Syracuse area, it is extremely easy to request an absentee ballot online and mail in your vote. Use the voice that we as American citizens have been given the right to use, to make an impact, to change. Because now more than ever, our country needs to change.