By Matthew Tyson
To all my fellow Alabama Democrats,
Yesterday, many Alabama citizens (including myself) traveled to the polls to vote in the Alabama Primary Elections, and in just a few months, we’ll be heading back to elect the next President of the United States.
It’s an exciting time in an even more exciting race—one that could potentially change the social and political landscape as we know it. And while I know we’re all currently focused on November, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of something.
In two years, there will be another election—one that will arguably have a much larger impact on our daily lives. It’s called “The Midterm Election”, and it’s how we elect the members of our state government.
Last time we had a mid-term election (2014 for those of you who were unaware), Alabama voter turnout was a whopping 41 percent, the lowest in decades. And of that 41 percent, Republican voters made up the majority. Democrats were virtually nowhere to be found.
Now, I have made my issues with the GOP leadership in our state well known (just see my previous columns). I think they have failed the people of Alabama. I think their policies are hurting us far more than they are helping. But none of that really matters, because they aren’t going to change. They are going to keep doing what they’re doing, and their voter base is going to turn out at every election and keep them in office.
When I think about the 76 failing schools in our state, the hundreds of thousands of people who are still without health insurance, and the hardworking men and women who can barely afford to put food on the table, I get angry. When I think about how our legislature has spent more time loosening gun restrictions, banning Sharia Law, cutting welfare, and gutting the educational system instead of addressing the real issues in our state, I get angry.
But I’m not just angry at the Republicans. I’m angry at us, the Democrats. We let it happen. We didn’t vote. We didn’t care. We didn’t try. We got hyped up for Obama, and then we went home and turned off. That’s inexcusable. For every problem facing Alabama today, we shoulder a great deal of the blame.
Yesterday, you did your civic duty and voted. In November, you’ll do the same. But remember, once the excitement of the presidential election wears off, there will still be work to do. You have to go back to the polls. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t matter. We can have change in Alabama. You just have to vote for it.
Matthew is an Anniston native, a writer, and a representative of the Democrats for Life of America. If you want to support the DFLA cause in Alabama, you can contact him at [email protected]