Why the Midterm Elections are a Big Deal and Why I am Voting
What is the big deal with the midterm elections? Everyone is talking about them. It seems you can’t surf social media, listen to the radio, or watch television without hearing something about them these days. What is the big whoop? Well, let me tell you why they are important and why I am voting.
Remember in junior high when you learned about the branches of government and checks and balances? The House of Representatives and the Senate are where bills are introduced, voted on, and then passed onto the President’s desk. He can either veto the bills or sign them into law. All the members House of Representatives are up for election in the midterms and about one third of the Senate. There are also 39 governorships up for election--36 states and three territories. Right now, the House and the Senate are controlled by the Republicans. Many people like me would like to “flip” the House and the Senate. The way things stand now, Republicans are passing bills that are hurting my family and many others.
Do you care how much you pay in taxes? Do you care about paid family leave? Do you care about gun laws? I do. I don’t know what is important to you, but I do know that if you want your voice heard, then you need to vote. I want legislators that listen to me and represent my views. I want legislators that will stand up for what is right.
Fifteen years ago, I became the main caregiver for my parents and my grandmother. I did this while raising my young children. I did not work, not because I did not want to but because someone had to be able to take my Dad to his radiation appointments, to take my Mom to the hospital for her bi-weekly infusions and had to give my Grandmother a bath. I left a high-level career in marketing and business development to do it. There was no one else. If my family would have had access to paid family leave, then I could have kept working. My conservative estimate is that I gave up around $900,000 over those years. That $900,000 could have gone back into the economy, it could have funded my retirement, it could have secured college for my kids. My whole family paid the price and we are still paying it as I start my career over again. Paid family leave would have been a godsend.
The new tax plan is going to hurt. My family currently pays just under $4,000 per month out of pocket for medical premiums and therapies for my three special needs kids. That is basically two extra mortgages. Get a better insurance plan you say! I have the platinum plan. The insurance companies have become so difficult to deal with that medical providers are no longer taking insurance. The ones that take insurance have three year wait times. Three YEARS. My kids need occupational therapy. My kids need to see a pediatric psychiatrist. I pay out of pocket. I used to deduct most of these costs. The tax structure has changed drastically and what I am going to see personally is that I will have less money in my pocket to support my family.
Sandy Hook. I am voting because of Sandy Hook. I will not stop until we have better gun laws in place. The American people turned their back on kindergarteners’ bodies getting ripped apart by a mad man with a semi-automatic gun. Nothing has been done. I will use my vote to elect legislators that will do the right thing by creating stricter gun laws.
Take a moment and ponder what is important to you. What is important for your family? Your vote is your voice. You might say it just does not matter. Maybe you think your vote is nothing in the grand scheme of things--it won’t make a difference. I would like to give you an example from my home state of Washington. In 2004 Christine Gregoire won by only 133 votes. That was a margin of only 0.004842%.
If you read nothing else in this article, please read this:
Your vote = Your voice
Your Voice = Change
Without your vote, nothing changes. I am not asking you to be the next Alyssa Milano. I am urging you to perhaps step out of your comfort zone and voice your opinions through your actions. Please vote.