Five days, go vote!

Virginia Russell

On October 29 there will be just five days until the 2020 presidential election. Five. If you are a fellow news addict like me or just a breathing human, you’ve probably seen some form of political ad in the media. Good, bad, funny, stupid, extreme, right, left, positive, negative, you get the gist of these words. Now here’s some more: vote, vote, vote, vote, vote, vote, vote, please, please vote! Subtle, I know. If you couldn’t tell by my underwhelming transition, I’d like you to vote. This message specifically goes out to my fellow seniors who may think that voting is dumb, haven’t thought about voting at all or just don’t particularly care too much. Well, I do care, and as a senior who is very much irked about the fact that she cannot vote, I’m going to tell you why it is necessary that you do. 

Here is your first reason, posed as an elementary school question: Is the United States a democracy? Yes it is, and in a democracy, which not all countries are entitled to, we get to vote. Emphasis on the word get. Simple as that. You must vote because it is your privilege and right as an American citizen to do so, and it’s just how democracy works. 

It’s also important to remember that all minorities couldn’t vote until the 1960s; not even a century ago. Perhaps that was your grandmother, your grandfather, or an older relative who didn’t yet have that right. You need to vote because they were unable to for so long. If you don’t vote, you are disrespecting those who came before you and who put their livelihoods at stake.

Now some of you are going to say that your vote doesn’t make a difference. What’s one vote less? Well, a few extra votes can actually make or break a candidate’s chances. In 2001, Al Gore lost the presidential election because he lost the electoral college vote to George W. Bush. However, Bush barely won the popular vote in Florida which then caused a recount. In this recount, it was recorded that Bush won Florida by 537 votes, which means that if Gore had gotten 600 more votes in Florida, he’d have won. 

We young people are coming of age in a turbulent time, so shouldn’t we be able to have a say in how turbulent or not it has to be for us? Shouldn’t we be able to secure successful futures? When you choose not to vote, you choose not to care about your country’s economy and it’s mechanical workings, an economy that you’re about to take part in. Also, by not voting, you’re allowing someone else to decide your country’s leader for you. You are willingly putting that power in a stranger’s hands. So at the end of all this, I want every age group, not just seniors, to ask yourselves, what is freedom to you? Ask yourselves this, because to me, it is being able to cast my ballot as an adult for who I want and who I trust to lead the country I love to better possibilities. For some of you who can’t vote, though, freedom to you might be having thoughtful and engaging conversations with family members or adults. Remember, getting involved in politics can happen in more ways than one! And if you just skimmed this then at least take away this last line that best sums up my idea. I saw it in the Smithsonian Museum four years ago in our nation’s capital. Seven words, short and sweet. “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”