It’s election day in the United States. Our local polls just opened a few minutes ago.
Even if I weren’t a political junkie who pays close attention to current events, I’d still have to vote.
Because I have a furry critter lying on my floor. And I love her.
And all people who love animals must vote.
Apathy Kills Animals
I don’t usually make such drastic statements. But it’s true. And it’s time we faced it.
The news has exploded with stories about expecting Republicans to take a majority in the Senate. In truth, that’s not the important story.
Congress passed 185 bills. Yep, the 113th Congressional session will be the least productive ever. And they’re not going to do much in the next two years either.
But you know who has been busy passing legislation that affects you and other animals? State legislatures.
And it’s state legislatures that could put an end to
- puppy mills
- internet animal sales
- canned pigeon shoots
- animal activists being charged with felonies for recording abuse on farms
- and other egregious practices.
Are you starting to see how voting today could make a big difference? (For a clear, humorous, and NSFW discussion of how state legislatures are affecting us, check out John Oliver’s take.)
Change Is Hard Work
Unfortunately, it’s hard to promote change if you’re unhappy with your elected officials because districts are rigged to make it easy for incumbents to get reelected.
And that’s why we have to dig deeper. We have to understand some of the boring, procedural things that make a difference.
For example, the New York state ballot has a proposition dealing with redistricting reform. If it passes, it would establish an “independent” commission to propose districts for upcoming elections.
Where would this “independent” commission come from? Well, the current legislative leaders would pick eight members. Their appointees would pick the remaining two. And if their proposal was rejected two times by the legislature, the legislators would draft their own redistricting plan.
Yeah, sounds real independent to me. And Honey is a mastiff.
I’ll be voting no on that proposal. And pushing for something more independent. Because democracy needs to have competitive races.
It’s geeky. It’s political. But it’s the kind of procedural issue that could, in the future, have a big impact on animals, human and otherwise.
Hopefully you’re at least registered to vote. If not, it’s too late for today. But start the process at the U.S. Board of Elections for the next elections.
If you are registered and need to find out the location of your polling place or what’s on the ballot, click your state on the interactive map to find your local election board. The League of Women Voters also has side by side comparisons of candidates if you have not yet made up your mind.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that allows early voting and you’ve already voted, thank you.
Who knows. Maybe future news stories will talk about the voting bloc of animal lovers. Who throw their support behind lawmakers promoting policies that benefit all animals.
Apologies to S’waggers from outside the U.S. But if you have words of wisdom from a democracy that’s less insane, please share. We could use all the help we could get.