Diana Belchase

Cross the Aisle with Your Vote

One thing I know about Washington, D.C. is that everyone here takes their vote pretty seriously. It's the meat and drink of living in the capital city, where everyone's job or interest is somehow connected to those in power.

I've learned to vote for people, and issues, not for rhetoric or ideology. A lot of the folks here will say what they think you want to hear and go off and do very different things. Others are more interested in their "side" winning rather than our "nation" as a whole winning.

Voting isn't easy. It should be more than choosing one party over another, or a name that matches your ethnicity, religion, or gender. Finding good information on the candidates still takes a lot of digging despite the wonders of the internet.

Yet, I encourage you to do that work. Figure out what really matters to you. Vote for the people who represent you — really represent you. And support them every way you can.

Here are some sites to help you find answers:

The League of Women Voters

Ballotpedia

FactCheck

And records of how sitting congress members voted can be found here: https://www.congress.gov

You have no loyalty to anyone in the voting booth except yourself. Its anonymity means the only pressure is making the right decision. So make that decision boldly. Do not rely on endorsements from unions or other groups. Each is looking for their own self-interests. If the people the teacher's union recomends have gotten in power for the last ten years, but the schools aren't better, is that the best way to go? If the builder's association backs a certain inspector, the one who's been in power for as long as you remember, yet there are problems with buildings in your area, is that the solution? Are you voting for a judge right out of law school, or a seasoned trial attorney who understands the nuances of the law. Think who you want on that bench if it is you on trial.

Again, vote for people not parties. Because if we as a nation cannot cross the aisle, how on earth can we expect our lawmakers to do the same?

So, if you have done the work, go ahead and head to the polls tomorrow. If you haven't, I am not going to say go and do it anyway. It's like giving your proxy to people you don't even know. So tonight, do that work, think hard about your life — what really matters in the day to day, not the abstract, not in the next century, not in philosophy, but what matters today, to keep this country running, your family thriving, and our communities great places to live.

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