by Haley Hicks
For over a decade, I’ve marveled at the abilities of adults. Their seemingly endless options and privileges mesmerized me, as they drove their own cars and bough their own groceries. Yet, as I myself grow older and take on more of these tasks each day, they become exceedingly mundane, tedious and somewhat overwhelming. The ability to choose, something I once yearned for, has become just thins as I prepare to select a college and career. In all this uncertainty, however, I still hold one choice in high regard: my future vote.
My generation, almost more than ever, should share my same value. Many of us have grown up entirely in an age of fear, something that began as news stories and warnings has found its way into our neighborhoods and schools. The youth of America is constantly on the minds of today’s politicians, always being debated and discussed, for just this reason. Our education is scrutinized, our wages are altered, and our mental health is analyzed, all without our input. Conversations about football games and chemistry tests are now accompanied by discussions of law in high school hallways. Much of the heated debates, however, go on between people who can’t even vote yet. It appears that myself and my peers can’t wait to get to the polls and finally have our voices enter the conversation of our future.
My vote in the next presidential election will be much more than an opinion. My ballot will give me long awaited control over my future. One simple, marked sheet of paper will represent my new control over my generation’s interests. Debates and ideas discussed in my history and government classes will be brought to life, and years of learning how laws are made and forming political opinions will finally be put to use. My classmates and I, after years of waiting impatiently as others discussed our issues and rights, will at last be granted the ability to alter the course of our nation and outlook.
Still, it’s painfully obvious that most citizens do not see voting in the same light as their younger counterparts, as many adults fail to even put in their own ballot. In the 2016 presidential election, only 58 percent of eligible voters turned up to the polls. This, paired with Trump’s record ow 38 percent approval rating for his first year in office, uncovers just how little Americans value their vote. It appears that many don’t supply their opinion at the polls, but go on to be unhappy with the election’s outcome. Nearly every election has a turn out as meager as this despite the prodding of media and officials, and I pledge to never lose sight of my vote’s importance as those ahead of me have.
From the 2020 election to those decades in the future, my vote will always matter. Though our government has accomplished incredible things, and politicians have lead amazing terms, our nation will never be perfect or serve the interests of everyone. It’s my responsibility to provide my insight to help not only myself, but those of my same generation, walk of life, region, or any other situation. Taking the time out of my day to become educated on the election’s issues and put in my vote is the least I can do to protect my future.
by Haley Hicks