Has it really been four years since our last Presidential election? Somehow I find that hard to believe but it’s true, and once again we need to start thinking about who we want to vote for.
Whether you are strongly committed to a specific candidate or not quite sure yet who you want in office, we all need to be registered to vote and start paying attention.
For people with disabilities, it is especially important to vote not only for the President, but also in state and local elections. A new official in office can make budget changes that effect services like job coaching or residential staff. Or maybe there are other issues that are really important to you like education or the environment.
Whatever the issue may be, you need to decide what is important to you in making the world a better place.
Choosing an issue
Sometimes choosing an issue that we are passionate about is overwhelming, as I learned when teaching at Suffolk last spring. I asked my business students in their first class to share with me what the most important issue was to them in the next Presidential election and I was surprised to see many of them actually needed suggestions.
Growing up in the 70s, this was a bit of a concern.
Now this was a bright, involved, 20- something group of students but what I realized is they had never been encouraged to really think about social issues that affect their lives. Maybe it is because the media chooses the issues they think are important for us, and we just follow along.
Getting ready to vote
That’s where education and general discussion comes in. If you haven’t already, you can easily find out how to register to vote. The website, https://registertovote.org/forms/register/registration/massachusetts.html, in fact will give you the information you need.
But more important, you need to start thinking about the issues that mean something to you and talk about it. Talk to your family, friends, coworkers, anyone whose opinion you respect and make some decisions about how you want things to go in the world.
Then look at the candidates running for office, their websites can be very helpful, and decide who will make the world a better place, in your opinion.
This month, we will learn about a panel discussion being coordinated by DDS to help educate people with disabilities about how to vote, how to choose and why it is important. You will hear from Rick Camara who is coordinating the event and is passionate about getting people out to vote.
If we start doing our homework now, come November, we will be educated voters. And then maybe we will see changes in the world that we can be proud of.