This month we’ve addressed the economy and health care in The Rider News. We’ve read that the Democrats want more affordable and efficient health care for everybody. Also, by building on the recent legislation passed by President Barack Obama this year, they wish to help repair the economy by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and create projects in order to help the unemployed find jobs during this tough time.
This week is our final commentary before the election, and rather than repeating the Democratic platform, I want to bring some more issues to the table — issues important and relevant to our generation and our time.
My first issue: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. Bullying is not exactly a political issue, but from the astonishing amount of suicides that have occurred in the past two months as a direct result of bullying, it’s clear that LGBT rights are still a big issue. Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign — one of the largest LGBT rights organizations in the country — released a list of congressional candidates that it endorsed. Every candidate from New Jersey was a Democrat.
My second issue: rationality. I know that not all Republicans are members of the Tea Party movement; however, it still frightens me that the Tea Party has gained such a large number of followers, some of whom are running for Congress. Even though this isn’t the case for New Jersey, Tea Partiers could still easily be voted into Congress in their respective states, and then the movement will actually have a legitimate voice in our government. Voting Democratic next week ensures that reasonable people in Congress will outnumber foolish Tea Party members.
And my final issue: apathy. In every election, a significant portion of registered voters do not take the time to vote, and most of these absent voters are registered Democrats. In 2008, 2.5 million people joined Rock the Vote to help participate in the presidential election. This year, only 280,000 have signed up. The overall lack of enthusiasm of young voters could be because this election seems less important because it’s not presidential. But the truth is, this is just as important as the 2008 election. Republicans are counting on apathetic voters not to show up on Tuesday, and we cannot let this happen. If Republicans win a majority in Congress, Obama’s powers will be highly limited, and very little progress will be possible in all aspects of American life.
When Obama won the election, he declared, “Our time is now.” This has not changed. Two years later, now is still our time. This election will determine how much work can be done for the rest of Obama’s term. If Republicans win a majority, Obama will not be able to keep his campaign promises because Republicans will not let any of his legislation pass.
So, in the name of equal rights, in the name of rationality and in the name of deferring apathy, get out there Tuesday and cast your vote.
– Jennifer is a junior history major.