In the past, whenever someone would mention any sort of political talk, I would slowly turn the dial and tune them out. Not because I was ignorant, but because I didn’t understand its importance in my life. I didn’t understand why people would divide themselves and start up arguments for something that I didn’t value. Why would I want to be a part of something that breaks people apart and divides an already divided nation? It wasn’t until I began to educate myself, that I truly understood the importance of voting.
Coming from one of the United States’ five territories, I started to understand the significance of my actions. People who live in these territories are considered U.S. citizens, but they are not allowed to vote in the presidential election, but can be granted the right to vote if they officially reside in the United States. My parents not only gave me a life full of opportunity and growth, but they also gave me the opportunity to speak up. So I understand now that I have a responsibility that many of my family members lack. This alone is enough to encourage me to vote.
For this election I took it upon myself to do just that. But it is not the act of voting that has significance, it’s how you do it. Filling out the bubble to cast my vote based on the personality of the candidate alone is not right and not what I set out to do. I went out of my way to research what these representatives stand for, how they’ve changed their fields in the past and what they’re willing to do in the future for this country. Some might say it is a little overboard to do research into their past, their previous jobs and explore the issues that they value. But I think knowing who you’re voting for is different from understanding who you’re voting for.
This election marks my first active participation in a presidential election and it feels good to do something for the good of others and myself. In my opinion, choosing not to vote undermines the definition of a democratic country. Voting should be taken seriously and handled with maturity. Just like our conversations with friends and family, we should respect others’ decisions and opinions on voting. It is a powerful tool that can either separate us and cause division or it can unite us under one cause: the right to speak up and have a say. So whatever the outcome of this election, let’s choose to come together as we take part in a historical election and move forward as a united country.