Having fewer people empowered is not going to end wars. - Olivia Bradstreet, 15, unschooled
We discuss politics and current events in our home pretty much around the clock and this certainly ramps up during a presidential election year. Maine is also, again, voting on equal marriage, so that's on our minds as well (we're for it, and we voted early). This year, however, we have social media and the kids are now teens. So they are reading and digesting political commentary on their own-though the reading Olivia does on Tumblr has a decidedly feminist social justice perspective that most mainstream media does not promote. They've witnessed and have even participated in a few social media scuffles; debates with friends on third party candidates, the lesser of two evils position, who's pro or anti all the things we care about.
One recent morning we were discussing such a running Facebook conversation and there was this idea being debated that since both candidates were pro-war, we must all vote our conscience and vote third party, splitting the vote for the most viable candidates be damned (that lesser of two evils argument). My family's position is that there is indeed a candidate who is not only viable, but will help ensure that people will be granted civil rights, have their reproductive and sexual health protected, that is cognizant of and has already helped those who live with food and housing insecurity, the uninsured and those with costly or chronic medical needs. We want the
So we had some people saying that voting third party was the only right way to go and then there was the group, like us, arguing that this vote was too important to give to a third party candidate, precisely because of the rights and very lives of people everywhere, that are at stake during this election and for years after. During the arguments, the use of drones and the military actions taken by the current administration were called into question, justifiably.
So much is at stake, however. The next president will be appointing up to four Supreme Court Justices, and the outcome of this election will have a domino effect on people for generations to come. We need people who have their basic human rights met, who have civil liberties, because as Olivia put it so succinctly one morning, "having fewer people empowered isn't going to end wars."
Like Olivia, I, too, think that people who are no longer struggling, who enjoy civil liberties, who have a voice and exercise it, we are people who begin to think outside our lives, who begin to take action and call into question, policies that are destructive and immoral. We are people who might even lend support to third party candidates years before an election, working for campaigns, even running for office ourselves.
By far the most important thing you can do today, if you have not already, is vote. Please vote. Exercise your right, your privilege, and make history.