Once again we find ourselves in the middle of a presidential election. It is a time that really drives most of us to become unplugged from the digital world. Yet while many of us find the political process distasteful, we cannot let ourselves become disengaged from it. The fact that we live in a Constitutional Republic demands that we not be idle spectators in the democratic process. The biggest disservice we do to ourselves and our families is not taking the time to participate fully in our political process. By ceding roles in the process through inaction, we’ve actually allowed the process to become a sideshow.
Voting is a right that many have fought to secure and we take for granted. When this country was founded, only adult white males that owned property could vote. And then the only federal officers that they could elect were members of the House of Representatives. But to paraphrase the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, through amendment and court actions, now all adult Americans have the right to directly elect officials at all levels of government and to indirectly elect the President of the United States.
Now that these changes have occurred, we need to remember that voting is not only a right but a responsibility. As citizens, it is our responsibility to participate in the political process. As a member of the American Counseling Association, you have an added responsibility to vote; as the ACA Code of Ethics calls on counselors to advocate for their clients and the profession (Section A.7.a.). Casting your ballot in elections is an extension of that advocacy. You have to allow your professional opinions be heard when it comes to electing leaders of our government and on other issues that affect the community and are on the ballot, such as bond issues or referendums.
In closing, I’d like to touch on another issue that you may have heard in the news over the last few days. Some candidates vying for elected office have been making unsubstantiated claims that the electoral process may have been compromised. This is simply not true. These claims have not only been repudiated by a bipartisan chorus of elected officials but also by scientific data, demonstrated by a comprehensive study done by Loyola Law School which was summarized here. Your vote is secure. Your vote will be counted and you should cast your ballot with the knowledge that you are participating in a just and sound process.
Every year you hear the phrase that this election is the most important election of your life. And that is true. But EVERY election is the most important of our lives because it is those leaders we elect, and those decisions that we make, that will determine the type of world we will live in and the type of future our children will inherit. Isn’t that enough of a reason to make sure you vote?
The ACA Government Affairs team strives to keep the counseling community connected with important legislative news, updates, and announcements that affect the profession. Questions? Want to get involved in our advocacy efforts? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org