The day had come, July 4th, 2013. That day was my 18th birthday. Coincidentally, it was the very same day our nation turned 237 years old.
Most people my age wanted to become 18 to do other stuff… go to a bar and legally drink, drive a car, or buy a pack of cigarettes, but not me, I desperately wished to turn 18 to VOTE.
My interest in politics goes way back to the year 2000 when I was only 5 years old. I remember my dad talking about a recount and a guy named Bush stealing an election. Fast forward to the 2008 election and I clearly remember the Democratic Primaries. I ardently supported Hillary Clinton for our party’s nomination. Although I wanted her to become our 44th President, there was nothing I could do… I was 13.
Now that I’m old enough to vote, I’m saddened whenever I see the turnout numbers. The first cycle I voted was in the 2014 midterms, and only 36.4% of eligible voters actually showed up to the polls. In 2016 and 2018, 55.7 and 50.3% of eligible voters cast a ballot, respectively. Those numbers appall me. It is truly shocking that, on average, 52.5% of voters didn’t bother to vote in the three most recent election cycles.
The other day, I met a young expat. The entire time we spoke, he talked ill of Trump and all the horrible actions he’s taken since he took office. I gently asked him, “Well… did you vote in the last election?”, “No! My vote won’t make a difference!” When I heard those words being uttered, my blood boiled. HIS VOTE COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE!
Low turnout tends to help Republicans. Low turnouts in Florida in the year 2000, and low turnout in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2016, were decisive to give us two of the worst presidents in modern history. Imagine what would have happened if turnout would have been different. We could have prevented having children separated from their parents at the border, tax cuts for the top 1%, destruction of the environment by large transnational corporations, and billions and billions of dollars being spent on war.
I vote because I care about my fellow US citizens. I vote because I believe government should be there to help everyone, not just a few. I vote because I believe that the United States should be and can be a force of good on this planet. I vote because I believe we can have a fair economy, one that lifts immigrants, the poor and needy, and those who are living from paycheck to paycheck.
Voting is freedom of speech in its ultimate form. It is enshrined in our Constitution.
Do not squander this golden opportunity to change your life.
I will vote… Will you?