Tomorrow is Election Day for those of us in the United States. And unless you’re under 18, not from here, a felon, or an anarchist, you should really be voting. You can say “it doesn’t matter, nothing is going to change.” And that is partially right, but there are more important reasons to vote–reasons much more pertinent to snowboarders. The environment and healthcare are two key factors in this election, and both can have a significant impact on your life.
Let’s start with the environment. Neither of the two major parties are talking about climate change, but scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are impacting the weather. I’m all for traveling to Canada to ride every so often, but I don’t want that to be the only place left. Sure, there will be places that have heavy storms and great snowpack, but look at Tahoe, Mammoth and just about everywhere except the Northwest this past year. If seasons like that become the norm, snowboarding is going to get a lot smaller. Jobs in the industry and on the periphery are going to be much more scarce and fewer companies will be buying ad space on YOBEAT.
I’m not suggesting we all start driving less and using solar-everything, because I don’t think this is an issue that should be put on the individual. As a whole we can impact the temperature of the planet a little, but to slow, halt, and in time reverse the changes that have already taken place we need to push for a cultural shift. There needs to be large-scale infrastructure changes.
Take Vail Resorts, for example. They know a significant part of their income is gone if climate change become too drastic. So they’ve positioned themselves as alternative-energy pioneers and serious environmental stewards. It could all just be greenwashing because the want to keep the money coming in. But I suspect they see climate change as a very real obstacle to their income growth and would rather not have to give up that money.
The second point is healthcare. It’s this simple for me, young people get to hang on their parents’ health insurance for longer — until your 26, thanks to the latest reforms.
You know what’s awesome about this? The freedom it gives young people. So you’re going to take a few years after high school/college to ride and just live the life? Chances are you’re going to get hurt, or you’re going to get herpes from that super punk rock girl who works at the season pass office at Northstar (trust me on that one), or you’re just going to get a sweet case of mountain town cough because those places are hotbeds of communicable disease.
But if you’re young, you can now still being sucking the titties of your parents insurance. You can work a shitty job, ride all day and still be covered. But what if your parents don’t have insurance to extend to you? Health care reform will make it easier for you get insurance in 2014. You won’t have to worry about what you picked up along the way and you won’t have to worry about going broke just to see a doctor.
So when I sit down and look at the ballot, I have to think, “Do I want the dude who is proud of his claims that he will change nothing regarding the impact we make on the environment, thus making it shittier. Do I want the guy who wants to make insurance more costly and more of a burden for you? Or, do I want someone who is putting us on the right path towards controlling our environmental impact and wants to see quality healthcare available to all of us, at a cost that doesn’t break us?”
Ultimately it’s up to you how you want to vote, but it’s pretty important to do so. If you think the main two parties are crap, please vote for a third party candidate. If nothing else, do it for the stickers.