On My Soapbox: Flex your civic muscle

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

It’s that time again – election season – although it’s a little later than normal for local impact.

But yes, it is election time, and we need to flex our civic muscle and vote!

A few years back, I had a Williamson County District Judge ask me, “How do we get people like you to vote?”

I replied that I do vote.

Her response was, “Not you specifically, but people in your age range. Especially African American men.”

I didn’t have an answer for her. Many African American, men and women, think their vote doesn’t count, but it does. In fact, every vote matters regardless of skin tone.

In local elections a few votes can sway an election. I always bring up the Harry S. Truman and Thomas Dewey election.

The paper printed “Dewey defeats Truman,” and Truman held it up as he stepped out of an airplane as president.

Dewey was expected to win, but he (and the editor that was probably fired) was surprised when he lost. And, it wasn’t that close of a race.

I said that to say this, your vote – our vote – makes a difference.

In local elections, the only way to be heard loud and clear is to go out and vote.

During election season, candidates will be at every event shaking hands, kissing babies, posing for photos, etc. That’s all to get your vote.

Once they get in office, then the voters and the media have to hold them accountable for their campaign promises.

If a candidate makes a promise to me but doesn’t make good on it, that’s a vote they lose in the next election.

Nationally, I try to stay out of politics. I do keep up and know what’s going on, but I don’t like to get into heated discussions about politics. I’m not a democrat or a republican, I vote for who I think will do the best in the position.

If you and I disagree on candidates or a position, that’s okay, we can still be friends. Elections should not separate communities, but somehow, they always do.

I encourage younger people, especially young African Americans, to get out and vote. It’s easy to complain and say what is not being done for their community. The only way to fix that is to vote.

Even if the person you vote for doesn’t win, you still have room to speak up and hold the person in office accountable.

The old adage is “the squeaky wheel gets the oil or grease or whatever stops it from squeaking.” Vote for your mechanic and then squeak until the can is empty.

I’m going to get off my soapbox and help Jasmine with her homework until I get tired of hearing, “Daddy, that’s not how you do it.”

“Young people need to vote. They need to get out there. Every vote counts. Educate yourself too. Don't just vote. Know what you're voting for and stand by that.”

- Nikki Reed

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