Democrats can’t afford to sit back

Commentary

In light of the mounting concerns we are feeling about the aims of the Republican-led Congress and the increasing distrust of the president, his actions and motives, it is time to be speaking up.

The office of the President of the United States has never been filled by someone who seems to favor despotism and nepotism as much as the current one. He appears to be too friendly to Russia, denies their interference in the election, has many conflicts of interest that he will not divest or divulge, attacks the legitimate news outlets, and currently has wavered in his thoughts on common sense gun protection laws, succumbing to the pressure of the NRA.

The Republican-majority Congress has managed to pass a tax package that will award much more money to the rich, very little if any to the rest, and cause a larger deficit which they will use as an excuse to cut spending to many programs that help the average citizen, including Medicare and Social Security. They continue to try to mess with our health insurance, causing us to worry whether we will be able to have affordable health care in the future. Now, they are again trying to take the side of the gun lobby against the majority of the country who want to see sensible regulations enacted in order to save lives. The Parkland students are leading the way, speaking out, and putting us to shame.

What can the average person do? Most importantly, vote. The only way to make governmental change is by making yourself heard – by letting them know if they don’t represent you, they will not get your vote. Go to protests and marches that get your legislator’s attention if you can, take a few minutes to contact them by email or phone as often as you can, and vote in every election – even the local elections.

I ran for a local office this past fall. About half of the registered voters in the town cast ballots, a good turnout for an off-year. I don’t see that as a good turnout however, especially when the turnout was very lopsided in a town where the registered Democrats and Republicans are about equal. I hope that this will not be the case this November. Democrats, if you want to be represented, you must turn out to vote just as faithfully as your Republican counterparts, every time. Every election is important. Independents, your vote can mean the difference between which candidate is chosen; your number, in my town at least, is one third of the voters. You vote for the individual, for the issue or for your ideology, but you need to be heard too. Bernie Sanders says that change doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up – and that’s us.

We currently have seven very qualified Democratic candidates seeking the chance to run against Representative Tom Reed for the 23rd district Congressional seat. All have something to offer. They all have websites that you can access to learn about their platforms. They are: Eddie Sundquist, Tracy Mitrano, Max Della Pia, Linda Andrei and Ian Golden. If you feel that the Democratic party should have power in the House of Representatives to make changes and to prevent further erosion of our democracy by Republican backtracking on social and environmental issues and supporting of powerful corporate donors over constituents, please inform yourself on these candidates. Vote in the June 26th primary and vote in the November general election for the one who ends up opposing Tom Reed. If you need to check to see if you are registered, you can log directly into https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us and to register, change affiliation, address, find your voter location, or get an absentee ballot, you can access all that information at www.elections.ny.gov. This is an important race, one that Democrats can’t afford to sit out.

Susan Bigler is a Sheridan resident.

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