Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Local Elections Matter

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Local Elections Matter

I grew up in Texas, a state where the electorate was so homogenous that primaries became only elections that mattered. Unfortunately, as a liberal, my vote had about as much effect as yelling into my reusable Whole Foods tote. It didn’t change anything, and everyone in the artisanal kimchi aisle looked at me funny.

Faced with the prospect of standing in line on a Tuesday evening for no pragmatic reason, the temptation to make other plans was strong. Admittedly, I skipped voting a few times.

I’ve since lived all over, most recently moving from northern California to Alexandria. And I’ve found something unexpected: the temptation to skip voting when you’re a part of the majority bloc is equally strong.

It can be hard for progressives to get excited about voting in local elections in Alexandria. After all, the city is solidly blue, and the need for one more blue vote competes in importance to other pressing matters in our crazy lives — pressing matters like a night of watching Dancing With The Stars from my couch.

I understand. You’re busy, just like me. And you need to know if Jo from The Facts Of Life will defeat Bo from The Dukes Of Hazzard, just like me.

Besides, the Democrats are going to win anyway, right?

There may be a strong probability that Alexandria will stay blue. But there’s too much on the line to bank on a probability. We have to guarantee results.

Need some good reasons to vote in every election, even in all-blue Alexandria? Here are just a few:

(1) Great future leaders for our country start their political careers serving on city councils and school boards. If you want outstanding Democratic candidates on the ballot in the coming years, vote for them for local office now.

(2) Send a message that Alexandria rejects the divisive politics that have taken over Washington, DC. The Democratic roster of candidates is diverse, committed to inclusivity, and reflective of our city. Our Alexandria values are real American values. Shout that message loudly across the Potomac.

(3) The way we solve non-partisan problems, like potholes, is ultimately reflective of our ideals. Do you want our city’s solutions to reflect economic justice, environmental stewardship, and transparency? Democrats at every elected position use our shared values to solve our city’s problems — even the non-partisan ones.

(4) By stacking City Council or the School Board with Democrats, we’re agreeing in advance on a ton of assumptions that are still up for debate with candidates from other parties. Imagine if all of our elected officials already believed in things like climate change and women’s rights? Agreeing on the basics leaves time and energy for progress for our community.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, is rapidly approaching. Alexandrians, get out your calendars now and set your DVR to record DWTS.

With that off your plate, now you can focus your efforts that day on getting to your polling place and voting.

Rickey Dobbs