Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the United States election is quickly approaching on November 8th. In fact, the entire world seems to know that the election is coming and most countries are paying very close attention. It's no exaggeration to say that the outcome of the United States Presidential Election can affect the entire world, given our influence in so many areas.
I can't tell you who to vote for - it's a personal decision and one that should be thought out carefully. If you're unsure of the candidates and what they stand for, you can find Hillary Clinton's website here (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/), Donald Trump's here (https://www.donaldjtrump.com/), Gary Johnson's here (https://www.johnsonweld.com/) and Jill Stein's here (http://www.jill2016.com/) as well. This website (https://www.isidewith.com/) is also a great, unbiased website for learning more about the candidates and who whose views are most aligned with yours. There are also many other sites out there and I highly recommend doing as much research as possible, not just on the presidential candidates but also on policies being discussed. Facebook memes do not count as factual sources and neither do heavily biased news pieces.
However, while I can't tell you who to vote for, I can tell you WHY you should vote.
You CAN vote. Voting has not always been a universal right. Women did not have the right to vote until 1920 and the first time African Americans could vote was 1965.Before that, there were even more restrictions and the right to vote was fought for - not easily given. In fact, not everyone can vote today as more and more voting ID restrictions are put in place. The fact that you have the ability to vote at all means is something worth celebrating by actually voting.
Your vote matters. There's a lot of people who say that they don't vote because their vote won't affect the outcome. Can you imagine what the impact would be if everyone who thought this way actually voted? It would definitely make a difference. While the electoral college does technically make the final decision, it is based on popular vote, which is also recorded. Even if your candidate doesn't win, the margin by which they lose makes an impact too and can help change the future of politics.
It's the one way your can show what you care about. Your vote is the one way you can show the government what causes you care about, by selecting the candidate that aligns with those views. Depending on your state, there may be individual issues that are up for public vote (think Prop 8 in California).
It's about more than the President. While the presidential candidates obviously receive the most attention, Senate and House of Representative positions will be voted on as well. As the Senate and House of Representatives actually propose and vote on laws, these positions are just as important as the President.
This President will nominate Supreme Court justices. Voting in any election is important but this is the one reason that voting in the 2016 election is vital. There is currently one open spot in the Supreme Court and likely to be another during the next presidential term. It is the President's job to nominate Supreme Court justices and all candidates have very different ideas of who should be in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is what ultimately decides how to uphold the Constitution and decides significant nation-wide matters. The people that fill these seats will help shape the future of the United States and that is something that needs to be taken very seriously.
These are only a few of the reasons that everyone needs to get out there and vote on November 8th. It's going to be a very monumental election and, regardless of the outcome, history will be made. Find out where your polling place is, make sure you have appropriate ID, and get out there to vote on November 8th!