To Vote or Not to Vote? Why is that Even a Question?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't consider myself to be overly political. I hear about the political scene when I call my mom, who is a politics junky, by surfing Facebook, and that's about it. I figure that if something is meant to reach me, it will.

When I saw a post on Facebook via one of my dearest friends, I felt myself getting really angry, and realized that it's time to start paying attention to this presidential election and to speak up about something that I really care about.

What she posted was a quote referring to an article that was written before the election of 2008. Basically, it said that it doesn't matter who the president is and what really matters is how we treat each other, as neighbors. It was, more or less, encouraging people not to vote.

I was a bit shocked. Why would someone tell people not to vote? What about the women's suffrage movement? What about African Americans dying for the right to have a voice? Hello, Martin Luther King, Jr. anyone?

I do agree that we need to care more about our neighbors and our local communities. And, I feel very strongly that it's also important whom our president is, and that his or her values be in alignment with ours, collectively. Rather than one or the other, ideally it should be both.

Now, of course, we're not all going to agree on values. That's a given. However, there are certain common themes to consider. I want my president to consider what's in the best interest for everyone, including the minorities and the economically challenged.

While it's true that the promise of change didn't necessarily fit our ideals, or what was promised, there have also been a lot of positive changes since Obama took the office back in 2008. Yes, there have also been setbacks, as those opposed to his ideas have fought hard against him. What I feel from Obama is that he does care, that he's compassionate, and that he has our collective best interest in mind.

Whether you agree with me, or not, it's up to us to vote for who we want as leader of this country. Yes, it is a democracy. While the presidential office is one of many, it does hold weight. Yes, let's care about our neighbors, our local communities. And, let's give also give a rat's behind about who is parked in the White House for the next four years!

If you want my opinion, I suggest voting for who you think will best represent your values and that of all the people in this country. Vote for who will work to create and maintain peace between the United States and other nations. Vote for the people who will stand up for the environment and the next generations.

Vote for the candidates who care about all the people-the rich, the poor, the middle class, people of all colors and ethnicities, not just the super rich. Vote for the people who care about the immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Vote for those who care about women's reproductive health (and I get that Obama does, even though he's been challenged around this). Vote for the ones who care about all people, the planet and the profit, not just the "bottom line".

My friend Jenni raised a good point when she said "If only I felt one candidate actually did represent my values... But if I found I one, than that would be the ideal combo- a great candidate and people loving each other more." Yes, there are some who feel their values are not being represented, that neither of the candidates feel right to them.

These two candidates, Romney and Obama, are the two main contenders right now. They are the guys we are being given to choose from in election 2012. While some might prefer a strong Green Party or Radical Party candidate, this is what's in front of us, right now. I invite you to consider which of them closest fits some of your ideals, if not all of them.

In my opinion, not choosing is making a choice. If you feel really strongly that it's the best course of action for you, well, that's your choice. I just don't want to hear any whining about who's elected from people who choose to sit back and let the election pass by without doing anything about it, without standing up for who they feel is the best candidate, given the options. And I don't want to hear any taking credit for what does go well either. By not voting, you're giving your voice away. How does that feel? I know that does not feel good to me! In fact, it's not even an option for me.

The election is coming up in a little over a month. It's just on the horizon. So, now's the time to get your voting information squared away. Make sure that you have the proper identification you're your state requires. Get an absentee ballot if you're going to be away from home in early November. I know that, in Colorado, the last day to register to vote is October 9th and I'm getting my registration form ready to send in.

I'll admit that, even though I've voted in four elections, this is the first time that I'm really going to pay attention to all the candidates, not just the presidential ones. Join me by informing yourself on the presidential, federal, state and local candidates. It's all relevant. It all matters. It's not a choice of either local or national. It's both. It's yes, AND....If you care about this country, make sure that your voice is heard and that your votes get in that ballot box.

Though it may seem like ages ago, let's remember our history. Let's remember that women, African Americans and immigrants were all shut out of the voting polls, at one point in time. Remember that, excluding the Native Americans, we were all immigrants at one time. We have fought long and hard for the right to each have a voice, and the battle is still going on. No matter how small or insignificant our individual voices may seem, every person matters. Every voice matters. Every vote matters. So, let's vote!