2016-10-26 / Editorial

Don’t sit out this election: Exercise your right to vote


Regardless of the outcome, the 2016 presidential election will go down in history. Voters will either break barriers by electing Hillary Clinton as the first female President of the U.S. or elevate businessman/reality TV star Donald Trump, the ultimate outsider.

Rarely has an election campaign rattled the American psyche like this one, with its ramifications and the day-to-day movements of the candidates dominating daily conversations. Never have the two top contenders of the major political parties elicited such strong negative opinions. A Pew Research Center survey earlier this month showed that just a third of registered voters say they are very or fairly satisfied with the choices, while 63 percent say they are unsatisfied.

The Jewish community, however, should not let the negative aspects of the campaign deflect from the importance of what is at stake. Not only are there vital domestic issues, but also the future of American-Israeli relations will be greatly influenced.

In addition, whoever becomes President will have his or her administration influenced by the outcomes of the congressional, state, and local races being conducted across the country. The people in the “down-ballot races” not only will influence current policy; some inevitably will be the leaders of the country in the future.

Traditionally, the Jewish community has voted in higher percentages than the general community. Jews have eagerly participated, perhaps remembering a time in history when Jews had no power and were not allowed to participate in the civic life of the countries in which they lived.

We should also remember the struggles many of our fellow Americans have undergone in order to participate in the electoral process. It was a long time coming before women and certain minorities were given the right to vote. Those hard-won achievements should not be forgotten.

Let us hope that the American Jewish tradition of going to the polls continues to be strong on Nov. 8. So much is at stake for our future. 

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