While the good ole United States of America is a republic government, we practice democracy through our voting processes. I am neither a Democrat nor Republican in reality, although I am registered Democrat. I acknowledge that both parties have beliefs that I both agree with and disagree with. Our freedom to choose is one of the few powers we Americans hold dearly.
Democrats believe in the social aspect of government and more power to the (mass) people. Republicans are strongly for businesses, less government, and individual-oriented. It is natural with these differences that the majority of the Democrats are the oppressed, 'deviated-from-norms' and those largely in poverty or middle-class. It is often said that Republicans are mostly the richer people. In reality, it is a balance between both. Depending on how people get involved in the election, the majority vote can switch from Republic to Democratic in one second and vice versa the next.
So how does voting impact deaf, disabled, or minority people? When you ask around, you will find that most of these people are not registered voters and naturally, you are curious to why they are not. Common answers include, "I don't know who to vote for.", "Information is very confusing.", "Too much drama.", "Even if I vote, the person I want to win doesn't win." and so on. Sadly, most often the response from deaf people is, "I'm deaf so my vote doesn't matter." In all reality, it does matter. If you do not vote and you write to your legislator the chances of the letter or email being read is less than the person who voted. The written opposition or support will count but will have significantly less value compared to a person who voted, regardless if deaf, disabled, minority, or none of the above.
A bit off the point, since the House Bill 1367 (Indiana) started in January - one thing that infuriated me the most was how the Republicans acted as lemmings in their undying belief that the outcome that Outreach Services came to be was unsatisfactory. I vented to a few friends who happened to be Republican supporters. Thankfully, we are still friends. I did mention something that they agree with. If the Republicans are strongly for employment, why is it that they refuse to hire deaf people, people with disabilities, and some of the minority groups? The GOP is one of the reasons why we are still stuck on social welfare and dependent on the very programs for survival. It doesn't help if the Democrats continue to support social programs that encourage dependence upon the very same programs for survival. It was like one of the lesser bills proposed to add another $1000 in state income tax exemption (http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/IN/IN1256.1.html) for persons who are deaf. At this time, I am not sure and have sent an email to the representative who sponsored this bill for further results to this particular bill.
Back to point, most of the general population is afraid to vote for the same reasons deaf people give me when asked about why they do not vote. Most will vote a straight ticket, frankly because the ridiculous media and campaigning of the 21st century is blown out of proportion. I will admit it is increasingly hard to decide who will be the best candidate for the job. I even looked in the newspapers for election information and there is little to no information on folks who are running for offices and the primary voting in Indiana is coming up on May 8th.
Voting is not an easy job. Darn it, we don't get paid for it; however, this is how we dictate to our elected officials how to run our government from local to national levels. I do not want to even begin to think how to vote on a global level. That thought alone is frightening. Nonetheless, VOTE!!! If you are not registered, I believe the deadline has passed for the primary but don't be late for November (the first Tuesday in November), in which the vote determines the next four years of political and government life for Hoosiers and Americans alike. To register in Indiana - go here: http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2403.htm. For other states, do a search for "state" and use the search keywords "vote register" or various combinations.
Why Vote Links:
Rock the Vote
Project Vote Smart
To Be Whole
Currently I am an ASL teacher at a local college and at an high school. I received my Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. At home, I am an activist within the community, Northwest Indiana. My son is in first grade and my daughter goes to E.C.L.I.P.S.E. ASL Preschool. Change begins with you and change is effective with a team.