Ever since I saw a video of the previous first lady, Michelle Obama, express her disappointment in the low turnout of democratic voters for the Senate during Barack's 2nd term as president on her Netflix special BECOMING, it gave me a clear understanding of how we not only made Barack's chances of passing bills and laws that would have helped the black community even harder, but also how little the black community understood how important certain roles are within our branches of government. It's no secret that most of the black community are Democrats these days.
That switch up came back during 1964 when Barry Goldwater ran his presidency off of "Southerner Votes" who wanted to see the rights of black people stripped. However, we're here to talk about why your votes matter today.
What Are The Three Branches And Their Jobs?
The Constitution of the United States divides the federal government into three branches to make sure no individual or group will have too much power:
Legislative—Makes laws (Congress, comprised of the House of Representatives and Senate)
Executive—Carries out laws (president, vice president, Cabinet, most federal agencies)
Judicial—Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)
Each branch of government can change acts of the other branches:
The president can veto legislation created by Congress and nominates heads of federal agencies. Congress confirms or rejects the president's nominees and can remove the president from office in exceptional circumstances. The Justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate (which is currently headed by Republican representative Mitch McConnell).
This ability of each branch to respond to the actions of the other branches is called the system of checks and balances.
Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government
The legislative branch drafts proposed laws, confirms or rejects presidential nominations for heads of federal agencies, federal judges, and the Supreme Court, and has the authority to declare war. This branch includes Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) and special agencies and offices that provide support services to Congress. American citizens have the right to vote for Senators and Representatives through free, confidential ballots.
Executive Branch of the U.S. Government
The executive branch carries out and enforces laws. It includes the president, vice president, the Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees. American citizens have the right to vote for the president and vice president through free, confidential ballots.
Key roles of the executive branch include:
President—The president leads the country. He or she is the head of state, leader of the federal government, and Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces. The president serves a four-year term and can be elected no more than two times.
Vice president—The vice president supports the president. If the president is unable to serve, the vice president becomes president. The vice president can be elected and serve an unlimited number of four-year terms as vice president, even under a different president.
The Cabinet—Cabinet members serve as advisors to the president. They include the vice president, heads of executive departments, and other high-ranking government officials. Cabinet members are nominated by the president and must be approved by a simple majority of the Senate—51 votes if all 100 Senators vote.
Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government
The judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws, applies laws to individual cases, and decides if laws violate the Constitution. It is comprised of the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
Who Falls Under Those Branches In Each Level?
So as you can see so far, whoever controls the Senate controls the flow of how laws are written and how that can affect the overall performance of the presidency. When voters didn't turn out during Barack's 2nd term, Republicans became the majority vote in the House of Representatives. But, it's just not there the damage was done. Almost at every level, voters did not show up and the Republicans won at those levels. And as history will show, Republicans have not been for the black community since 1964.
That's not to suggest that Democrats have been there entirely for us as well. However, the hill is less steeper with Democrat than Republican.
Why Our Vote Matters
When voting for those taking control of high positions in your city, the state, and the federal level, you must look at their plans. Without knowledge of that, you're tossing your fate and your livelihood into the wind, hoping that it blows in the way of your favor. In real life, that's not a great plan to have. You'll wind up blaming government for your woes at the same time refusing to do research and vote. For generations, the black community stayed away from politics thinking that our vote doesn't matter anyway. You'd be right with those who choose not to vote at all. Why would your vote matter when you never vote?
Your vote matters at EVERY LEVEL and this type of education needs to be spread throughout our community. Learn who makes the laws and policies, learn who interprets the laws and policies, and learn who enforces those laws and policies. Who has your interest at heart? Who leads with hope of a better future? Because those who lead their entire campaign off of fear of pain or loss don't have your best interest at heart. Especially when they never tell you what their plan is. Be Smart this November and vote like your life depends on it....because it does.