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Letter to the Editor: Turn on the light and vote

On May 25th, 1787, after an eleven day wait to reach quorum, the most important and best-known men in our country’s history sat down and began the long, tedious process of putting pen to paper and drafting what would become a constitution for a fledgling nation that had just defeated the greatest military force in the world. What followed were months of constant re-writing, revision, negotiation with delegates from states, and caution to ensure the freedoms of Americans at the time would endure and be guarded until well after the men that aided and organized the revolution no longer walked this earth. In the 231 years that have since followed, our nation has faced great perils from within. We endured war, to bring a new birth of freedom for black Americans. We endured constant struggle and strife in the 100 years that would follow that war to ensure that basic liberties such as the right to vote and the right to be treated with dignity and respect in public accommodations were guaranteed to our fellow countrymen. We endured marches and larger movements to ensure the franchise of women to be able to cast a ballot. We endured years of struggle to ensure our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters have the same marriage rights as their straight compatriots. With each generation, America has been able to bring about a new birth of freedom, right our past wrongs, and ensure that the promise of America endures.

These victories have not been without strife and struggle, however. An entire geographic portion of our nation declared themselves independent from a sovereign union in order to hold onto the power they believed was vested in them to own another human being, an entire demographic of our society was devoted to never empowering women at the ballot box, and our own Congress even passed the Defense of Marriage Act to keep LGBTQ+ individuals in this country from marrying. Yet, despite the forces of opposition, despite those that seek to drag us back as a nation, we have persisted. It is because of our persistence that we have inevitably marched forward.

In our modern time, we now face a challenge like ones faced in the past. After 8 years of the first African American President in American history, we now stare at our inevitable march forward eye-to-eye. This election has come down to one simple fight: one that involves the soul of America. We face before us those that align themselves with a President that has called white nationalists “very fine people”, we face before us those that align themselves with a man that instead of consoling a grieving community in Pittsburgh after a tragic mass-shooting complained that a deranged murderer “stopped [Republican’s] momentum”, we face before us those that align themselves with a man that sees every issue in our country as one that constantly divides us, and does nothing to unite us.

In the final days of her 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton commented that “There is far more that unites us than divides us.” We, Democrats, still hold this true. It is our belief that government should be one that works for its people, not against. We hold that everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care, we believe fully that a woman has the right to determine what to do with her own body, and we believe fully that if you are born in our nation you have a voice at the ballot box and that no one should ever be able to take that away from you. These are viewpoints that are held by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Increasingly it seems in these dark days that our progress may be stifled, that instead of moving forward and forming a “more perfect Union” as our founders wished, that we are in actuality moving backward. This November 6th you have a chance to reject that notion. This November 6th you have a chance to make your voice heard. If you want to continue our march forward, I plea for you to you to cast your ballot for Democrats. If it is your wish to put a check on those currently in power and to inform them that you reject their ideology of divisiveness, this is your moment. Every election in your life is critical, and this year is no different. Happiness can always be found in the darkest of places, as long as one remembers to turn on the light. Turn on the light, be the voice, and march forward. See you on November 6th.

Matthew D. Banks

President of Young Democrats

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