Election Day: Your Vote & Story Matter!

Today is Election Day. I’ve always loved government and politics.  I know this election season may have seemed like an episode of “Twilight Zone” to many of you.  But I love election day for more reasons than it means the end of political phone calls, mailers and commercials. As a Christian, I believe God is not surprised by any of this and that He will still be in control long after this election is over.  In fact, Proverbs 21:1 says “The Lord can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases.”

I find it truly miraculous that here in the United States of America we vote in an orderly, civilized fashion. It is your right, privilege and honor to vote in this, the greatest country in the world. Around the globe many people do not have this opportunity, this right or privilege. Many who do vote, vote in fear or are coerced. Voting is not civilized in many, many places. Regardless of your political affiliation or convictions, I hope you have voted or will vote before this day is over.

I do hope before you vote or voted that you spent some time educating yourself. I know that can be hard. Find a way to research who best represents your priorities and convictions and the issues you care about. I like to listen to and read many different opinions,  and I actually look at voting records.

Today is one day in the big scheme of things.  After you vote and once these elections are over, you can exercise your right to contact your newly elected officials. Whether the incumbent returns or the person you wanted wins, he or she represents you and works for YOU! You have the right and really the responsibility to tell these elected officials what you think and what you want them to do.  Many of you have heard me say that I believe in the art of storytelling. I believe we all have a story to tell and it is by telling that story to change makers that we can see real change.

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Two years ago I wrote a blog similar to today’s – Election Day and Down Syndrome.  We were waiting on the ABLE Act vote. I didn’t even know with certainty that the ABLE Act would make it to the house floor for a vote. Of course, now that is all history.  Congress did indeed pass the ABLE Act during the lame duck session of 2014! It was because families like mine told their story to their Members of Congress that we passed this historic legislation. Those same legislators tell you now that this type of grassroots advocacy has impacted them in positive ways.

Celebration after ABLE Act passed the House
Celebration after ABLE Act passed the House

We have so much work to do. ABLE Improvement bills, sub-minimum wage legislation, organ transplant non-discrimination, IDEA re authorization, Higher Education re-authorization and addressing the overall systemic issues that continue to create barriers for individuals with Down syndrome and other individuals with disabilities trying to achieve their dreams and live with dignity and respect.

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Rachel  and our family have had the honor, privilege and great responsibility of meeting and interacting with United States Senators, Congressmen/ women, and many other national, state and local legislators. Rachel considers these individuals her friends, and that is as it should be.  She tells them about her hopes and dreams and truly believes they will help her.  Regardless of what happens today, we will still be out there sharing our story, getting to know these leaders and praying for the changes that need to happen for Rachel and for our country. I hope you will do the same. I still believe we live in the greatest country in the history of the world!

Happy Election Day!

By the way in two years, Rachel Mast will be old enough to vote and she will be doing just that!

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