Sarah Grace Goolden
I know it’s tempting. For a lot of reasons, one might want to vote straight-ticket this midterm but they shouldn’t. I get it. It’s our right as citizens to vote but with a job and classes and life, when does anyone have the time to sit down and really scrutinize the candidates? When do we get a moment to read up and really sift through all of the campaign promises and figure out who is genuine? I found myself really wishing there was some kind of “right” answer, but there isn’t. Only voting for your party is certainly not the answer.
Straight-ticket voting involves voting one political party for every position. Without even looking at their policies, people just put their trust in whoever identifies with the same party as them. This is obviously problematic. I’m going to use Republicans as an example.
32 percent of Americans consider themselves Republicans, according to Gallup Daily Tracking. There are 125.9 million people over the age of 18 in America. That means over 40 million people actively identify as a Republican. I am certain that all of these people have differing opinions. Of course, there are some shared ones that tie the group together, but if you sat them all in one room, do you think they would agree on everything? Absolutely not.
There are gay Conservatives and those who want to make gay marriage illegal. There are people who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. There are rich and poor Republicans, black and white, male and female. Political parties are not one size fits all. It would be outrageous to assume that over 40 million people have the same ideals simply because they checked the same box.
By not researching those names on the ballot, you could be voting for someone who wants to squelch the programs you’ve been funding, or put into practice something you’ve rallied against. While waiting in those long lines to the voting station, whip out your phone and do a quick Google search. Find out who has your same values in mind this midterm election.
For too many years, Americans have let themselves be dictated by a political party. The world has divided into a huge game of “them versus us.” That is not the case. Swearing loyalty to a blue donkey or a red elephant and refusing to see the other side isn’t helpful.
The truth is, neither side is willing to back down first. That means no one is going to work together. Not everyone is going to agree with each other; that is an unrealistic world and you shouldn’t hold your breath. The ability to put down our torches and pitchforks to work together though, that’s a possibility.
Don’t vote to further promote your own political party. When you’re doing your part as an American this Nov. 6, look at who is most equipped to do their job. Support those who are willing to work with others for the greater good. Playing well with others is a rare and priceless skill to have in such a divided time in our country. I’m not saying you should vote for people who you disagree with, but rather that you should understand that not everyone you agree with has to come from your own party. Elect those who are smart and kind and transparent.
How can we change the world if we are shackled to separate ends of the spectrum? These words, Republican and Democrat, are made-up titles we assign ourselves. Let’s start treating each other as human beings and not red or blue.