5 Reasons to Cast a Ballot

Today was a good day: I early voted in the Florida primaries. This is the second time I’ve ever voted. Even though (in Florida at least) you fill out a glorified scan-tron, I still find voting to be very rewarding, especially after this summer’s internship. Young people like ourselves have notoriously low voter turnout rates, but I don’t see why we can’t be more involved with the political process. Voting is one small action that can do a whole lot of good.

5. The Blame Game. Don’t like the way your community, county, state, or country are run? One thing you can do about that is vote. If you have the right to vote and then choose not to exercise it, then you probably shouldn’t be complaining about the decisions elected officials are making. Voting gives you the opportunity to choose your representatives in government, so vote for people whose views are like yours.

4. Youth Issues. Think about hot-button issues: the war, education, the economy. These topics affect everyone, especially the youth and our future. Politicians are politicians, and they cater to their leading demographics. They are much more likely to listen to those who do vote, and if young voters are a large voting block, we’ll get plenty of attention to our needs.

3. Democracy- Duh. In the famed Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln referred to democracy as: “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. A key phrase there? By the people. Democracy doesn’t work if the citizens don’t participate.

2. History. Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the state and federal government from denying any citizen the right to vote based on sex. Historically, many groups of people have been disenfranchised. After all of their struggles, the least we can do is vote.

1. Current Events. Just halfway across the world, people are fighting and dying to have the right to vote and have those votes be counted. Just look at least year’s revolution in Iran after the elections. You probably know people who can’t vote because of their citizenship status or whose homelands have struggled with controversies in elections. If anything, vote for the people who don’t have a voice yet.

What do you think? Do value the right to vote? Do you vote?

~ Sarah

P.S. Casting a ballot is half the battle. It’s very important to be an informed voter. Before voting, I would recommend reading your local newspaper for thorough analysis of the candidates and amendments you may be voting on. How do you keep yourself informed? How do you know you’re making the right choice?

The Break-Up

In case you missed it, news broke yesterday that former vice president Al Gore and his wife Tipper are separating. Sure, break-ups for Hollywood and Washington couples alike usually aren’t unexpected. But this particular story was sort of shocking- the Gores have been married for forty years.

40 years.

Al and Tipper Gore at the 2007 Oscars

Politics aside, it’s sad to see such a long relationship come to a close. And these two, Al and Tipper, have been through a lot together. They met at his senior prom, all the way back in 1965. When Al attended Harvard, Tipper followed him to Boston and soon enrolled at Boston University. He eventually proposed as the pair walked by the Charles River, and in 1970 they married in Washington. Less than a year later, Al was sent to Vietnam. After he returned, they worked at The Tennessean in Nashville and began raising their family.

The Gores’ Wedding Picture

At 28, Al Gore was elected to Congress and the family moved back to Washington. Gore was generally successful in politics: although he ran two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, he served as VP for eight years under Bill Clinton. In 1989, the Gores’ young son was almost killed in a car accident, and ultimately the family grew closer. (So close in fact, that Al and Tipper shared an infamous kiss at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.) It was like a Nicholas Sparks novel.

The Gores (center) with the Clintons

They seemed like a real, loving couple, especially when compared to the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons. But now the Gores are the ones separating. After  40 years.

The Gores announced their separation in an e-mail to friends and family, calling it a “mutually supportive decision that we have made together.” According to the statement they “grew apart.” There have been no reports of extramarital affairs, which is refreshing considering the reputation of many politicians. Still, it’s disheartening that a long-term relationship has come to end after overcoming so much.

Clearly, I’ve thought a lot about this development. I’m the first to admit that I’m a cynic when it comes to relationships, but this story just reminds me that romance and marriage aren’t what they used to be. I think it’s crazy to separate after forty years- how do you recover from that? Is there any hope at all for the rest of us? At the same time, I admire the Gores for being courageous enough to admit it was time for them to move on.

What do you think? How do you think the former couple is handling the situation? Is this even a relevant news story? What about the media’s apparent fascination with public couples splitting?

Sources: AP, CNN, Wikipedia, IMDB