Today, I went to see presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak and I came away impressed and inspired. But, no matter which candidate you’re leaning towards, this will be a critical election and you must exercise your right to vote.
Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, a Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, supporter or undecided, you need to make your voice heard this election season. Next Tuesday, April 19, is the primary date in New York, April 26th is Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland’s big day and June 7th is when voters take to the polls in California and New Jersey. These are huge population states, so there’s a good chance that many of you still have a chance to vote for who will represent you in the presidential race, whether as a Democrat or Republican.
Has there ever been a more hotly contested race in your voting lifetime? I doubt it. And there are huge issues at stake here, especially if you’re a woman. Will women continue to be able to make their own personal choices when it comes to reproductive and even contraceptive rights? All the GOP candidates are committed to making abortion illegal in almost all cases, and all but Donald Trump want to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides healthcare and cancer screenings to millions of women.
Do you support LGBT rights? Only the Democratic candidates do and GOP-controlled states like North Carolina and Tennessee have recently passed discriminatory legislation that discriminates against LGBTs. Do you believe that the government should push for equal pay for women? Today, women only earn 78 cents per dollar that men earn. In fact, tomorrow is national Equal Pay Day.
Should there be any controls on the sales of guns? Should people be able to carry concealed guns everywhere including into churches, schools and bars? The candidates all have very different views on gun control or the need not to have it. Keep in mind that gun deaths now outnumber deaths by car accidents. Almost 34,000 people in the US died by gun violence in 2013.
These are all huge issues to think about. Hillary promised to protect a woman’s right to choose, to defend Planned Parenthood and to protect LGBT rights in her speech this morning. She wants to end unequal pay for women — pointing out that us women don’t get a discount because we earn so much less than men. As Hillary told the audience, “equal pay is a family issue, not a women’s issue.”
She also pointed out that no matter who the ultimate nominees are to lead the Republican and Democratic parties in the election, it will be a “very mean and divisive campaign,” she said. It already has been. Have we ever seen one candidate insult the looks of another candidate’s wife or threaten to “spill the beans” on her as Donald Trump did to Heidi Cruz? Have we seen protestors punched at Presidential campaign rallies in recent elections? This election has made news non-stop and much of it hasn’t been good.
Now, whatever party you belong to and whichever of the nominees you support, you must exercise your right to participate. Your voice will not be heard if you don’t vote. So please Hollywoodlifers, get out and vote in your state’s primary and mark national election day, Tuesday, November 8, on your calendar. Your vote is important — so do it!
If you aren’t registered to vote, you still can in time for the Presidential election in November! Find out your state’s guidelines for registering to vote by going to the United States Election Assistance Committee.