Advice from Dr. Sara: Vote!
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours registering voters. I spoke with many who were already registered but managed to remind at least one voter to change their address on their voter registration and persuaded four more to register for the first time. Registering voters might seem like an odd way for a doctor to spend a morning, but it’s not really. For me, voting is about feeling empowered to change the world. I want other people to realize their vote matters on the local, state, and national level. By voting, they are influencing the course of our lives. Being a pediatrician is about empowering families to make good, educated decisions on the health of their children. Good healthcare decisions influence the course of our lives, so there are parallels.
Here are a few of my reasons to vote, eloquently explained by my friend, a lifelong child and family advocate in the state of Florida, Jack Levine.
- To honor those in our military who courageously fight for us and our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency workers, who respond to our needs and defend the peace at home. Those who sacrifice their personal well-being in the name of our safety and security deserve our respect.
- To honor people who struggled for civil rights, women’s suffrage, disability and equal rights, and the ideals of justice for all whose diverse voices are essential for our nation’s moral health and community vitality. Freedom needs affirmation.
- To be a good example to our children and grandchildren by exercising the right to vote as a symbol of our faith in democracy. By voting we send a signal of the importance of the choices we as adults make to secure a better future for ourselves, for our children, and generations who will follow.
- Voting is our society’s great equalizer. No matter our station in life, income, ethnic heritage, or social status, every citizen over age 18 has the same power of one vote.
- While how we vote is confidential, the fact that we have voted, or failed to vote, is public record. Elected officials know which individuals and demographic groups are voting, and we who do vote are more likely to be influential in policy debates. Non-voters are voiceless, and by not participating can become victims of their own neglect.
- Regret is preventable. November 9 is one day too late, and “could have, should have” are sorry alternatives to acting. Have a “no excuses” attitude by committing to vote, asking others to join us in voting, and promoting a positive approach to making a difference among family, friends, and colleagues.
- Be part of making history. Because every indicator points to the prospect that the 2016 election will have an impact for years/decades to come, every vote is even more important. As a Floridian, I know how close elections can be! Being a participant in affecting history gives each of us a sense of pride in participation and the power to touch the future.