Why politics matter

Protestors march on Washington during climate march, wielding colorful signs

Protesters march in the 2017 DC Climate March. Photo courtesy of Mark Dixon/Flickr

Two of the biggest problems with people and politics is that too many people either don’t realize the extent to which politics affects their everyday lives or they buy into the false “both sides are the same” argument. The simple fact is that politics do affect everyone’s daily lives in some way or another (more so than ever in the very near future) and both sides are, most assuredly, not the same. While it has been said of the past several elections that “this” election or “that” election will be the most consequential in our nation’s history, we have finally, without a shred of hyperbole come to the most consequential election in our nation’s history, or that of the world for that matter. The 2020 election will determine how we as a nation move forward (or backward depending on one’s point of view) on a number of issues; immigration, regulation, gun control to name just a few. But the 2020 elections more than anything will determine the future of the entire planet. ​

The scientific community had said just a short while ago that we as a civilization had roughly 12 years to enact bold changes in hopes of staving off the worst effects of the global climate crisis. However, just last month, that same community of scientists is revising their prediction to say we have just a year and a half for bold action. This means one thing: the fossil fuel-loving, climate crisis-denying Republican party must be swept completely out of power in 2020. Democrats must hold their majority in the House of Representatives while retaking the majority in the Senate and getting the orange embarrassment of a *resident out of the White House. And that’s just the federal government. State and local elections matter too. The safest bet when going into the voting booth in November of 2020 is to vote for a straight Democratic ticket. ​

If the topic of climate crisis leaves your head spinning a bit there are numerous other instances that draw a stark contrast between Republicans and Democrats. For example, tax cuts and entitlements. Republicans passed a round of tax cuts benefiting the super wealthy while using the inevitable shortfalls in government income as an excuse to call for cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, programs that were passed by Democratic administrations and that Republicans have hated and wanted to gut from their inception. On the issue of civil rights, again, the difference is pretty clear. Democrats want to protect and where appropriate expand civil rights. Republicans want to hack away at the rights that have been won through so much struggle. ​

Now, you might say to yourself, “Why does this matter to me? I live in DC. We always vote for the Democrats. How do I make a difference in all this?” Well, if you’ve got friends or family in areas of the nation that are not as reliably blue as we are here in DC, then give them a call. Tell them what’s at stake. If they are motivated at all by what you have to say, tell them to make sure they are registered to vote or are able to take whatever steps are necessary to cast their vote and have it count. ​

Coming up next issue, the evil triumvirate: Donald Trump, Moscow Mitch McConnell, and William Barr. How we got into this mess and how Republicans are covering for Trump and their own complicity.

Jeff Taylor is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.

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