Don’t let anyone tell you differently, your vote matters

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

There’s a temptation to throw up one’s arms and say “it is hopeless. There is nothing I can do.”

I fear a lot of people may have that point of view when it comes to voting on Nov. 2. Fatigued from so much bad news, frustration and acting out by a small number of people, I understand why people would just want to ignore all of this, watch Netflix and try not to think about any of it anymore.

And that is what some people, cynically, are hoping will happen. The hope is the crazed partisan division (yes, largely driven by one side — and funded by dark money) will cause people to tune out and skip voting.

We’re all frustrated and want our pre-COVID lives back. Every time it seems like things will get better, we see a setback — like this summer’s Delta variant wave — and it seems like there is little we individually can do to change things and make them better.

And yes, there is too much corrupt money in politics — that goes for both parties. Honestly, sometimes it feels like most of our elected officials are bought and paid for and don’t much care what we actually think. While not entirely true — there are some elected officials who are in office to try to do good — it is understandable that some folks might see voting as a pointless endeavor.

It’s not.

Change starts with you. Change starts with those elected officials closest to you — municipal government and school boards.

If you don’t vote, you lose having your say into those who may have the most direct impact on your life and that of your family. You probably have a mail in ballot sitting around — I’m here to say that you need to fill it in and drop it off. 

Your voice really can make a difference.

Consider school boards. You may have heard the lunatic parents protesting mask wearing (citing all sorts of bogus “science”) and those (including an entirely morally corrupt county GOP party) falsely claiming that public schools are teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT).

We’ve all seen the irrational, rude and ignorant behavior at school board meetings. We’ve seen the outright lies of some running for school board.

Don’t think for one second, though, that this is some grass-roots movement. It’s not.

Big, dark money is pushing this narrative with one big goal: ending free public education as we know it.

All this false outrage over masks and CRT is part of long term play by folks like former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Charles Koch to convert our public schools into for-profit charter schools.

We know charters on average educate our kids less well than public schools, cost more per student and have no public oversight — like a school board — despite spending our tax money. It is literal “taxation without representation.”

These greedy billionaires want to convert as much public service to private as possible — not for better outcomes, but to get a piece of the action and pad already bloated corporate profits.

Businesses are not more efficient than government, despite more than a generation of claims to the otherwise.

Compare private medical insurance to Medicare: Medicare only needs about a 6% overhead to operate, while private insurance runs up to 20%. 

It used to be even worse before the Affordable Care Act  (ACA) meant insurance companies had to spend 80% of premiums on medical costs, instead just pumping up CEO pay and running endless commercials. Some of you may have gotten a check recently from Independence Blue Cross because the company failed to meet its legal requirement and had to issue refunds under the ACA.

Or, particularly of note as the Chester Water Authority is potentially being sold, every time a municipal water authority has been sold to private firm, water rates have gone up and arguably service has gotten worse. Ask people in Coatesville.

Privatization has largely been a loser for the American taxpayer, but it is a trend that will continue if folks give up and stop voting.

Your vote matters, each and every one of them. It decides who runs your municipality, who educates your kids, who manages your county and the level of your property tax rates.

Don’t let anyone tell you that voting doesn’t matter — the biggest leaps forward by the country have been spurred by millions of people standing up and saying, “no, this is what I want” when leaders go off the rails.

Whether it is by mail or you make it to the polls on Nov. 2, vote like your life depends on it.

Because, if you think about it, it does.

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