Many things are controlled by voting

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vote or Die! The slogan shouted at me. I stopped in my tracks. I wanted to think. The “Vote or Die” slogan kept ringing in my head. It had such power. My mind asked, “How do we die if we fail to vote?”

The first answer came easily: health care. Health care is central to our existence. Virtually every developed country makes health care a right and therefore a priority. But not in these United States of America, the most “developed” country in the world.

I often wondered how education became a much higher priority than health care. Don’t get me wrong because both are very important. However, education helps us to live better while health care helps us to live. We make certain that every person has an opportunity to get a free public education but we do not do the same for health care. Instead, we have to pay through the nose for health care.

Whether we live or die is determined by the health care we have and use. There is certainly some great health care in this country. However, not everyone has access to this great health care. Many cannot afford it. Others live far from the great health care.

Therefore, whether we live or die is ultimately determined by our vote.

Work is central to our living. Productive work that pays a living wage not only helps us to live better but helps us to live longer. Availability of productive work that pays a living wage is determined by our vote.

If there are jobs but they are closed to some because of gender, race, class, orientation, etc., then they may as well not exist for those excluded.  Our vote determines whether good paying jobs exists, who gets them and who does not get them.  “Vote or Die!” the slogan shouted at me.

We all need to be safe. We all need to be secure. We need to be safe and secure in our homes, in our communities, in our travels, in our workplace and in every place we live and move. We not only live better when we are safe and secure; we live longer.

For some of us, our vote determines whether law enforcement helps us to be safe and secure or whether law enforcement reduces our safety and security. When law enforcement is our protector, we live longer. When law enforcement attacks us, we die sooner. Our vote determines whether law enforcement is a protecting force or an attacking force.

We need safe air to breath and live long. We need safe water to drink and live long. We need safe food to eat and live long. We need safe shelter to reside in and live long. Our vote determines whether we have safe air to breath, safe water to drink, safe food to eat, safe shelter to reside in. When we have safe air, safe water, safe food, safe shelter and we live longer. Our vote determines whether we live long or not so long.

Our vote determines whether we have war or peace. When we have war, our children die young. When we have peace, our children live long. “Vote or Die!” the slogan shouted at me.

Everything we do impacts the quality and length of our lives. Our vote impacts everything that impacts our lives. Sometimes it’s not one thing that causes us to live worse and die early. Often times it’s a combination of many bad things, each making the other worse. Our vote strengthens or weakens each of those things. Our vote determines whether we live long or die sooner.

Our vote determines whether we have the right to vote. There are all kinds of determined efforts to diminish the right vote. Our vote determines whether it becomes easier to vote or harder to vote. Our vote determines who can and does vote.

When we don’t vote, we get limiting voter ID laws, destructive cross check laws, reduction of the number of polling places, discriminatory redistricting laws and many various voter suppression laws.

Our vote determines whether we have the right to vote to protect and enlarge our health, our education, our safety our security, our work, our business enterprises, and so forth. “Vote or Die!” the slogan shouted at me. After thinking of so many examples, I shouted back “Vote or Die!”