Monday, May 15, 2017

Why vote? For you and those who you care for, plus those who cannot.

During the 2016 election I had a tough time trying to convince my son and daughter to vote. Both were under the belief that their vote didn't count. Despite everything I could not convince either and When Trump won they still defended their position saying "my vote does count because Washington is a blue state." I wanted to run my head into a wall. I seemed to have failed in teaching my children civic responsibility. You know someone who did not fail? My parents.
I was raised in Florida, a small town on the Gulf Coast where the police station was a phone booth. I am not kidding, Carrabelle Florida was home to the world's smallest police station. Anyway, my dad served in the Air Force from 1953 to 1973. He was proud of his service and taught me, my brothers, and sister that it is an honor to serve your country in some form. Three of us joined the Navy, one brother became a police officer then a paramedic, and my sister went into healthcare. So the lesson did get through. We learned to love our country and understood that our country depends on all of us, not just in service but in helping select the leaders of our government.
When my dad joined the Air Force he and other personnel at the time were promised free healthcare for life if the served and retired after 20 years. Well, the country broke that promise to my dad and countless others like him. You see, someone in Congress decided it would be a cost saving measure to force TriCare on to retired veterans and rework the whole system. So much for a promise in writing.
Now, nearly twenty years later after that screw job by our elected officials, my dad is suffering from Alzheimer's and my mother is struggling to take care of him and make ends meet financially because of people in public office wanting to save money. Now these people that decided to screw over veterans are not just any government worker, they are elected.
What am I getting at? While you may not think your vote matters in an election such as the presidential election it does so when it comes to Senators, Representatives, state and local officials. These are the ones who come up with the bills that will impact you, your family, and the people who cannot vote such as children, and people like my dad who no longer have the mental capacity to do so. They are why you should vote because they need to be heard. Even if you don't care yourself one way or the other, there are others you care about and even people you don't know that need you to use your voice for them. Voting is a civic duty, it is especially so for those in our society that depend on others because they are not able to speak up for themselves.
I think about my dad's service of 20 years and how he was rewarded later in life by having something promised to him taken away by those elected officials and I use that as my measuring stick when I vote. Why? I don't want to put in office someone who thinks breaking a promise to veterans, to any American is ok, and that money is more valuable than people. I vote because everyone counts and so does my vote.