Imagine you are in first grade and your teacher asks if you want to stay in for recess to watch the Presidential Inauguration and you say yes. You have no idea what is going on, but it seems important. Imagine you are in fifth grade and you ask your mom if you can stay up late to watch the Presidential Debate and she says yes. You are still confused, but you take notes. They are incoherent, but you have got the spirit. Unaware of what a Democrat is and thinking Republican sounds like a last name, you root for Barack Obama, because he seems cool and your mom’s boyfriend doesn’t like him. Flash forward to ninth grade where you have to bring in a Trump sign for extra credit in American History and you don’t know why people laugh at you on the bus. You’re still confused. Now we’re here, and in the midst of a global pandemic, a civil rights resurgence, and your first year of college, you are eligible to vote in your first Presidential Election. There is no way you are not going to vote, and even though you’re still confused, you know exactly who to vote for.
The idea of participating in government has always been appealing to me. As a kid I was under the impression that my voice really mattered, that I could do anything I set my mind to and make change by casting my ballot. Now, since learning about the electoral college, and just the general injustices of the whole voting process, I am less convinced, but more passionate than ever. While my high school history classes always made it seem like voter suppression ended in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act, I have come to find that voter suppression is still alive and well. While the system is and always has been broken, we cannot let that deter us, but use it as fuel for our fires. It is the job of the people to change what is worth changing. As a future teacher, I want my students to grow up in a world that is less racist, sexist, and ableist than ever. And while change always begins within, once we eliminate bad practices from ourselves, we must take it further. I would hate to have spent my life knowing that there was something I could have done to make this world a better place, but instead have done nothing.
This election is one of the most important elections in U.S. history thus far. On one hand we have a seasoned politician who pledges to work for all the American people, not just those who vote for him, and on the other hand we have a pedophelic, racist fascist. On both sides we have old, white men. While the election system is flawed and the government will be far from perfect no matter who wins, we have the chance to save our country from the deepest pits of hell. Pennsylvania is a battleground state, which means we have a little bit more to do with deciding this thing and I urge you to vote. If we ever want to fix a system that keeps those with disabilities or mental health issues, LGBTQ, homeless, and BIPOC down, we have to vote blue. We are the children of 9/11 and the stock market crash. We were forced to comprehend the atrocities of this world before we left kindergarten. More than five million people ages 18-29 have already voted in this election. Even when the world tries to keep us down, even in the middle of a pandemic, we can, and we will make a difference.