Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Youth is Watching: Go Vote!

There are a million and one reasons not to go out and vote on Tuesday. A time that is usually exciting and hopeful has become terrifying and the right to vote no longer feels like a privilege, but a burden. But all of this, no matter how daunting, shouldn't keep you home November 8th. In fact, nothing should. You have to get to the polls and vote.

I'm sure you've heard it over and over that only you can make a difference and change in our nation; and it's true. But I'm here to introduce another reason to convince you that no matter how scared you are, there is still hope, and you can stimulate it by voting.

And it is all because of me.

Well, me and every other sixteen/seventeen-year-old. We all happen to be stuck in this age where we see and understand everything going on around us, but we have no say in it--at least, not one that will matter during this election. We've all made our decisions, unfortunately, we can't cast our vote until next time. But we're all sort of scared, after seeing this.

I am constantly hearing eligible voters all around me say they're not even going to bother voting this year. They say it around me, and my friends, and while some of us take that and understand it's not right, many take it as advice. As the generation before us, part of your responsibility as a role model to us includes setting the right example when it comes to wearing our grown-up pants. And voting is part of that. By throwing away your vote or not even attempting to, you are telling a generation of up-and-coming voters that it's okay to just give up on your country and rights when things aren't going as planned. The past two generations are criticized enough for being lazy--do you really want to drop the ball at the polls, too?

The youth has played an integral role in the election this year, with their power and presence on the internet. It may be that we have been more connected and informed than any other generation before us--but we don't get to take our knowledge and run with it. We only got to share it with you, and we trust you to take it for us and make a decision. There is no right or wrong choice anymore; but you won't prove anything by sitting on your ass. Don't let us down.

Not to mention, we will be going into the world soon. And maybe that doesn't mean anything to you as you consider this election, but it should. The teenagers of today are going to be the new adults, the new workers, the new innovators of tomorrow. Over the four-year course of the next presidency, we are going to be learning and growing and then finally, released into the world beneath that president. Depending on who you decide to vote for, the world we enter as young, ambitious adults could be either stimulating or completely disabling to us.

Yes, we are the future, but so are you. I don't know how I could manage to sound any more desperate than I do at this very moment, but I am. Like America and likely the rest of the world, I am frightened. I am frightened of what the world may be like by the time I get to own it--which will be in about four years. I am frightened that voters will look at their ballots with tunnel vision, and will not think of the girls and boys below them, the ones who will either suffer or thrive from their choice.

We are young and we are still learning, so teach us.

But one thing we know for sure is that nothing happens if you don't fight, and democracy has armed us with the most powerful weapon of all; our vote. Use it.

For me.

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