Cyndi's Two Cents

More than a presidential election year

Commentary.

The fifth of November is less than nine months away.

Media coverage of the campaigning and polling leading up to the presidential election ranges from entertaining to appalling. Despite my gnawing hunger for real news that is often lacking in “news” coverage, at least the American people seem to be paying a little more attention than they have in the past. Many know the names of the candidates in the running to lead the free world.

Most of the people I have talked with about the November presidential election have already selected their candidate. Despite the accusations hurled at “their candidate” many voters are committed to see it through, no matter what the polls might say. And quite frankly, almost everyone who talks to me about it tells me they wish they had another option. They are not so much in favor of their candidate winning as they are in favor of their candidate’s opponent losing.

We will elect a new president on November 5, but even more important, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and thirty-four of the one hundred seats in the U.S. Senate will be contested. Not only will we elect our next president; we will determine the make-up of the 119th U.S. Congress.

Friends, this is important. Congress enacts the laws that influence our lives every single day. They are responsible for funding government programs and enacting legislation. Our United States Constitution also grants Congress the sole authority to declare war. They have the right to confirm or reject many of the Presidential appointments. They have oversight of the executive branch of our government.

Not everyone has the privilege to participate in the government process the way we in the United States of America do. The 15th amendment, ratified in 1870, states “…the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. American women were the first in the world to fight for suffrage – the right to vote. It took years, but these courageous women and the men who would stand beside them, successfully pressured President Woodrow Wilson, members of Congress, and state legislators to support passage of a 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women nationwide the right to vote.

It took another fifty years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, prohibiting voting practices or procedures that discriminate based on race, color, or membership in certain language minority groups, became law.

It is an honor and a privilege and my right as a citizen of this great country to cast my vote. It is my hope that the American people embrace this opportunity by educating themselves on the stand each candidate takes on those issues most important to our country, not on exaggerations, sensationalism and whatever is trending on social media that day.

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