America is the greatest country on Earth. I am a strong and firm believer in that. As Americans, we have some of the greatest freedoms and rights granted to us by the United States Constitution and defended for us by our brave men and women in uniform. One of those rights, is the right to vote.

The right to vote has come a long way since the dawn of the United States. Up until 1870, only white, land-owning men could vote. Then here came the 15th amendment to say that the right to vote could not be denied or abridged by the state of the basis of race. But then, not until the birth of the 19th amendment in 1920, 50 years later, did women get the right to vote. Now, that’s real feminism.

2016 has been a whirlwind election and people are frustrated, to say the least. Now, more than ever, has your right to vote been so important. Just the other night, I was asked, “Does my vote even matter?” Yes! Your vote matters! People assume that when election day rolls around, that the only thing they vote for is the president and vice president. This is so not the case. When you vote, you do vote on a national level, but you also vote on the state and local levels. Everyone is pretty familiar with the jobs of elected officials on the national level, like making decisions about foreign policy and the national debt, and while those are very important issues, policy issues at the state and local impact your lives in a more direct way. State officials deal with things like transportation and economic development and local officials handle public safety and schools, all of which use your taxpayer dollars. You should be in charge of your money. Get out and vote for people who are going to use your tax dollars in ways that are going to be most beneficial for you.

My goal isn’t to persuade you to vote one way or the other. My goal is to persuade you to just vote. Get informed and vote for people who are going to best benefit your life. We are all in dire need of change. Our country needs change and change starts at the local level. Don’t ignore the chance to make a difference just because the two big ticket candidates are seemingly outrageous. Election day is less than two weeks away, go vote! Make your decisions to shape your future.

P.S. Go Cubs!