Be proud of who you vote for

No matter who you vote for in the mayor’s race, this election cycle has seen organizations release more voter resources and other candidate information than ever before. There is no excuse to be an uninformed voter at this late stage. Even if you haven’t been reading the candidate interviews and voter guides and even if you haven’t been watching the debates (but not the TV ads, which should be ignored), there are quick and easy ways to figure out which candidate aligns most with your interests, including a quiz from our media colleagues at Billy Penn.

But, as easy as a mayoral quiz is to take, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to merely vote for the candidate that matches with them on the most issues. That would be ignoring one of the main factors in politics: emotion. Have you ever had an irrational dislike of someone despite being similar to them in many ways? Have you ever supported someone even though that person hasn’t lined up with your views on every single issue? If you’re human, your answer to both questions is unequivocally yes. That’s how we operate. We have instincts that guide us that have nothing to do with policy proposals or coalition building. Sometimes, we just vote for the candidate that makes us feel good. It’s that simple.

If there’s one thing that you as a voter should try your utmost to do in this election, it’s this: be proud of who you vote for. If that requires you to do a lot of research and see where a candidate stands on every issue, do it. If you want to base your choice on the one time you met a candidate and they made you feel heard, do it. If you want to vote, simply, for the candidate that you’ve known and trusted the longest, do it. All of those reasons are good enough. 

But as we enter this final stretch of the election, with negative ads being thrown up on television and people on social media seeking to distort reality, don’t let anyone shame you into voting for someone. In politics, people can be loud and people can be negative, and when both things get combined, it can lead to unpleasant situations. Your job as a voter is to do your best to see beyond the noise and vote for the candidate that matters most to you, the candidate that you feel has the best shot of improving your life and the things you care about.

We truly are lucky in Philly that we’ve got numerous mayoral candidates who are supportive of the LGBTQ community. In our LGBTQ voter guide, we profiled candidates’ past involvement in the community and what they would do to help make the community better. All the main candidates are LGBTQ-friendly. They differ on the details of how they’d help the community, but they are all allies to us. Whether one candidate would be better for the LGBTQ community over another is subjective. Only you can answer that question for yourself.

We at PGN were proud to endorse Cherelle Parker for her longstanding support of the LGBTQ community. She supported the community long before it was politically popular to do so, and she continues to support us today. We believe she will be able to work with City Council the best of all the candidates, and we believe that real change happens when both the mayor and City Council are on the same page. Those were among the reasons she got PGN’s endorsement.

But no matter who wins the mayor’s race, whether it’s your number one candidate or not, be proud that you voted. We say this all the time, but it’s worth saying again: politics is about life and death. The power given to politicians is that serious. It impacts your healthcare, your safety, your wages, and your home. By choosing to vote, you’re saying that you care about your life and the lives of those around you. And that is the most important statement you can make.