The U.S. has one of the lowest voter turnouts of all industrialized democratic countries.
Abraham Lincoln said: "Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the people and burn their behinds, they will have to sit on their blisters." Gil Sery said: "Apathy gets you the government we have today."
It is our patriotic responsibility to become informed voters and to exercise our right and our duty to vote. Despite the lack of competitive national presidential nomination consequences, it is important for Columbia County residents to vote because of statewide races, county commission positions on the ballot and important local measures.
The current coronavirus crisis has made the need for good government abundantly clear. Our country and our county have been for far too long led down a political road largely driven by partisanship, divisiveness and demonization of your opponent. This Trumpian approach where loyalty is more important than competence, where truth is not honored, where professionalism and expertise are not valued, and where science is ignored ultimately will cost us tens of thousands of lives. We must elect candidates who can restore respect and honor for those values.
You should vote for Democrats because:
1. Democrats are better for the economy. Despite Republicans' misleading propaganda to the contrary, the economy for past 100 years has consistently done far better under Democratic administrations than Republican as measured by annualized growth in the GDP. Income inequality, unemployment and national debt have all generally worsened under Republican administrations.
2. Democrats belong to a party of inclusivity. The Democratic Party is the party for women, LGBT and minorities. Our diversity gives us a broader view on our outlooks and strengthens our party. We do not use diversity as a wedge issue to polarize our country.
3. Democrats support education. Democrats are far more likely to support more funding for public schools than Republicans. Democrats view a strong public education system to be the backbone of the country and strive to ensure a great education for everyone.
4. Democrats believe in climate change. 97% of climate scientist believe climate change is occurring and is being hastened by human activity. Protecting our environment is a key issue for the Democratic Party. In Columbia County, our Republican Party has taken an extreme climate denier position. Several of our currently serving elected officials, including county commissioners, are either agreeing or do not have the courage to stand up to the denier's misinformation. This is a major issue for Columbia County.
5. Democrats believe health care is a human right. Achieving universal healthcare has long been a goal for Democrats. Of all the major industrialized countries in the world, only in America is our ability to receive adequate health care determined by our job or our wealth. The current crisis is exposing this inequity at a tragic scale where minorities and low income are suffering at much greater levels.
If these issues are important to you and consistent with your values, then I strongly urge you to become an informed voter and vote for candidates who also support these issues.
Greg Pettit is chair of the Columbia County Democratic Central Committee. He lives in Warren.
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