Okay, you don’t actually HAVE to vote for President, you know…

I had to bring this up now while I was thinking about it (thus postponing NaNoWriMo time, but oh well), and there’s something I think we’ve all forgotten in this horrible presidential race–other people are on the ballot running for office. That’s something the news never covers anymore, at least not in my neck of the woods in Texas. I admit I haven’t seen much t.v. in the past month or so, but I try to pick up the paper or pay attention to various news feeds.

I haven’t seen anything about people running for congressional seats and what their views are and who they represent. Not even at the regional level.

I had to take a minute and realize I’ve never seen that, except for the occasional political ad when somebody’s running for the senate again, but no coverage by the media. All I’ve seen are the annoying red, white, and blue yard signs that get stolen, chopped up by lawnmowers, or end up in the street. I get annoyed at seeing all that crap, and really don’t want to see more. Hell, in front yards, only the presidential race is acknowledged. On street corners, maybe I’ll see signs regarding the Sheriff’s or a City Council position.

votingOne thing we’ve forgotten in all this, especially with the braggadocio and b.s. spewed from our national candidates, is they aren’t the only ones running for office! So, a certain presidential candidate–who insists they can do anything and everything–has made the nation forget that there’ll be 543 (or 544) representatives, senators, and supreme court justices to go through as well to implement what the candidate wants.

How many times have we been disappointed by candidates saying that they’re going to do this and that and all those things, and then they get in office and do nothing? Well, there are many reasons for that–it’s all those other people the media’s trained us to forget about. Well, if you hate the idea of voting for any of these “crazy people” for president, then don’t vote for them. But, you can vote for the rest.

We forget that in a nation of millions, we still have political power that’s more easily seen at the local level. Unless they’ve changed the rules in Texas, I don’t have to fill in the bubble for president if I don’t want to (unless voting straight party ticket, which will make that decision for you, of course). I can, however, still vote for the rest of the ticket, which is where my vote may do the most good.

The polls close in less than a week and I wanted to remind the rest who haven’t voted yet, or were on the fence about voting like I was, that there are other ways to make your vote count and voice heard than voting for the national figurehead. My migraine’s not fully gone away thanks to this stinkin’ election cycle, so to ease the pain, I have a few suggestions:

  1. You have time to educate yourself. I’d recommend going to more than one resource online, but if you google search “election ballot by zip code” you can put in your registered address and it’ll bring up the ballot of everybody running for office, broken down into national, state, and local. For more info, you can click the arrow to the right of the candidates’ names and it’ll bring up news articles and websites. (that said, this is why i recommend you search other sites for your ballots–i’m paranoid enough to see media bias everywhere. Research 101: use more than one source to get the best spread of factual information).
  2. Get the ballot and look up all the candidates. Look up their websites, track records, and the job descriptions.
  3. Look up unopposed candidates, their websites, etc. There are half a dozen on my ballot (mostly at the local level, all Republican) that are running unopposed, sometimes for years. Why is that? Well, look them up, see what they’ve done. If they’ve had the job for 20 years without having to run, they may have grown complacent. Finding a new candidate for the field might shake things up and make people more aware what the job entails…or remind “Candidate Set-For-Life” what their job is about in case they’ve “forgotten” (hee hee). Also, if you don’t like the candidate, don’t fill in the little bubble next to their name. Maybe that will give somebody an idea when 80% of the ballots indicate the incumbent got no vote…hmm…
  4. 2016-electionThe Clincher: Don’t vote straight party ticket, dammit! I never realized how many political parties we have now in so many different levels of our state structure. Texas, in nearly every state-level category, has Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Green party runners (I think I can count on one hand the number of times I saw Green candidates before this one and still have fingers left over). So, if you’re educating yourself, take a look at their policies and personalities. Besides, I find it funny that the people who complain most about how Congress never does anything are the ones who vote straight party ticket every single time. Uh, how are things in Congress going to change if you keep voting for the same damned people in the same damned positions, where they get to do the same damned things you hate for several more years? I’ll let you answer that one.

I consider myself an independent, and I’ve voted all across the spectrum. I feel better about myself when I do that. Today, we have the ability to sift through the b.s. for the facts on just about every candidate. The unopposed incumbents may be the trickiest, but that’s probably expected because a few haven’t had to sell themselves in the digital age yet. You can still see their track record, I’m sure, or what they post as their track record (again, I’m a bit of a skeptic here).

Amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) feeding structures

Ze amoeba’s close-up. Uh…didn’t a candidate make a face like this to make fun of a disabled person recently?…

So, though the national election resembles a clusterf*** devised by brain-sucking amoeba lodged in the minds of media pundits, we can make the choice to fill other seats with people we want. We can make a difference there because the national election is about more than one person and his/her relationship to the people in the audience. It is about finding the best people we can all across the board to do the jobs we need, and who knows? If one of those brain-sucking amoeba find their way into the presidential winner’s head, then we’ve at least had a hand in picking 535 people who might be immune and shake off the congressional apathy we’ve been bitching about for…well, damn near as long as I’ve been around (but don’t blame me).

We focus so much on the one person who’s going to take the top job. I don’t know why, when the evidence has stared us in the face all these years, that one person in our government can’t and won’t do everything…even if they want to. This is not Nazi Germany, with its reliance on one strong leader to take us to more promising places…and I hope to God it never becomes such a thing. Because we all know what that led to.

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