I have been looking forward to voting ever since I turned 18. Another adult responsibility is given and earned. It is a privilege to have this right when you think of all those women and men who suffered to ensure their right and future generations to vote regardless of gender, race, and social class. We owe it to them to go to the polls this Tuesday, and we owe it to ourselves to experience this responsibility as a step forward in adulthood.
Don't you ever feel upset and grief with the current political climate? I know I do. I may not keep up with current events as much as I should, but there are pressing dangers in our society. Students have been murdered by guns, children have been kidnapped and caged away from their parents, women have been assaulted by those in power, and hurricanes have been destroying homes and inhabitants. How can we allow all this harm to happen?
Are we doing enough to prevent these monstrosities? It has not been an ideal year but it has been an inspiring one. High school students, their parents, teachers, siblings, and those all around the world walk and fight for a safer school environment so that #NeverAgain shall a child experience a trauma or die like that. Those people outside of the detention camps sing lullabies and protest "free our children."
Women and men speak out against those who have sexually assaulted them and started the #MeToo movement, from the depths of Hollywood to the balancing beams of the Olympics. The thousands of dollars that have been donated to hurricane survivors and the giving hands that have gone there to repair the damage. In each disaster, the survivors pulled themselves up and fought for change and among them, millions of Americans and people from around the world have joined.
Their strength, love, bravery, and commitment to change our society into something better for others inspires me to do the same. We support them. We vote for them. We vote for those students who went through the terror of a shooting, those children in Texas detained from their parents. We vote for those who can't.
Voting is personal. When you go to vote, do not simply think "Republican" or "Democrat." Think about the people in your life. What would you want for your family, your friends, your neighbors? Be informed about your candidates. Vote for those who represent your beliefs and will find solutions to your concerns.
We cannot control everything but we can control our vote. Whatever you believe, make sure you make your voice heard. If you want change, make sure you utilize your civic duty. I do not take my voice for granted even if it may seem like my vote is worthless. It's not. My vote is personal. I am an American who simply wants to live in an America that expresses the American Dream of hope, freedom, and acceptance, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's why I am excited to cast my vote in that ballot.
You've heard it a million times and you're going to hear it again: every vote counts.