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Florida Primary and General Election | October-December, 2016

Florida Primary and General Election by Al Usack’

Oct-Dec 2016

As Unitarian Universalists, we have a long history of support for a number of issues and we should take this into consideration when we vote. Some of the many things that are at stake in the Florida Primary Election on August 30 and the General Election on November 8 include:

  1. At the January, 2014 annual meeting of our Fellowship, we voted unanimously to support “Move to Amend”, a movement calling for an amendment to the constitution that will say that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Therefore, an important consideration should be how the candidates stand on this issue.
  2. As a green congregation, we should look at the candidate’s stand on taking steps to protect the environment and on addressing problems that may be associated with global warming.
  3. Our congregation and the UUA have been strong supporters of those who are economically disadvantaged, we should look at the candidate’s stand on effective programs to help the poor and on addressing economic inequality generally.
  4. We also have been strong supporters of programs to support immigrants (especially immigrant farm workers), so this should be a consideration on how we vote.
  5. As a congregation that celebrates love and peaceful solutions to problems, we should support those who search for ways to promote world peace and non-violent solutions to domestic issues.
  6. With a proud UU record of support for women’s rights, we need to consider the candidate’s stand on reproductive rights of women and women’s equality in general.
  7. Also, as long-term supporters of equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, we should take the candidates position on LGBTQ issues into consideration.
  8. Of course, there are many other issues such as education, health care, privacy rights, gun control, military strength, terrorism etc. that you may want to consider before you vote.
  9. And, look carefully at fiscal solutions, past records, and the likelihood of carrying out promises made during the long campaign. And don’t expect too much given the complexities of getting things done in our state and nation. Often a move in the right direction is about all we can hope for.
  10. And, it is extremely important who will be choosing Supreme Court members in the future. Some of our greatest advances have occurred, especially in social reform, as well as major setbacks (the Citizens United decision) because of Supreme Court actions.

At this year’s Primary election on August 30 we will also vote FOR Amendment 4   YES, an amendment that responds to a citizen initiative to clarify the expansion of solar energy use in Florida. We recommend a vote AGAINST/NO on the legislature (and power company) sponsored amendment on solar energy at the November election. In October the Social Justice Committee will have a program at the monthly share-a-dish where we will discuss proposed amendments to the Florida constitution on the November ballot.

Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to vote. Too often, people say that it makes no difference whether they vote – maybe because they feel that it makes no difference who wins or because they do not like either of the candidates. Or they vote for someone who has no chance of winning or even write in a name. I urge you to look at who won and what happened in the past when the vote count was low. Also, I urge you to become aware of the party platforms and how the political party and the candidate stand on specific issues. Surely, then you will be able to see at least some of the differences between parties and candidates. Perhaps you will have to hold your nose but do try hard to look at issues and past records and not at personalities when you enter the voting booth.

Your vote does count and we urge you to talk to your friends and neighbors and urge them to vote as well. And, finally, there are all kinds of opportunities to help get the vote out – just call your party of choice and they will be happy to suggest ways that you can help.

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Al Usack