OP-ED: VOTING IS NO LONGER AN OPTION-IT IS YOUR DUTY

By Kate McBride || Contributing Writer

Let me start by making one thing crystal clear: the 2020 election will go down in history as one of the most polarized, divisive elections in U.S. history. This year alone has pushed us all to the edge. For a quick refresher: brush fires destroyed millions of acres in Australia, many feared that President Trump was leading us to World War III, President Trump was impeached, we feared being attacked by swarms of newly-discovered murder hornets, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, George Floyd was senselessly murdered…the list goes on and on. 

To say that we’re tired would be an understatement. The vast majority of the American population is unhappy, to put it lightly, with the current state of affairs. Finally, the power is in our hands. While we feel we’re at our lowest, we have the power to fundamentally alter our circumstances. 

This all has been a long-winded way of saying one thing: VOTE. 

If you’re not convinced, please allow me to explain why voting is not only morally right but absolutely imperative:

  • Vote for those who do not have a voice

There are hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients all over the country, as well as thousands of undocumented immigrants who, despiting living and working in the U.S., have no say in any election outcomes. As eligible voters, we have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of all members of the U.S. population are protected. Just like American citizens, immigrants are hard workers who contribute immensely to each of our daily lives. Remember, the foundation of this country is immigration; those who choose to settle in the U.S. deserve as much of a say as anyone else. It’s the least we can do.

  • Choosing not to vote is giving up your voice

We all have our stances on the events that have plagued our country over the last four years. While some may claim to have a careless, totally separated attitude towards politics, that choice simply is not realistic. We all have to care. I’m one of those people who says, “if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.” If you are of age and meet all of the qualifications, you simply have no excuse. If you have issues with the state of our nation, use this opportunity to catalyze progress. 

  • The world is bigger than your bubble

Sometimes, it can be hard for us to see from a perspective outside of our own lens. We all have our own life experiences; the easiest route, for some, is to allow one’s desires to dictate his or her vote. But as American citizens, we’re all in this together. We must support each other and ensure that we are set on the path to full equality. Vote for the rights of minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, members of the disabled community, and anyone else who is disenfranchised as a result of our government’s actions. Selflessness is the only thing that can push us forward.

We’re at a dark point in our U.S. history. Tensions are through the roof, lies are spread everywhere we look, and people are constantly at each other’s throats. I know I’m not alone in saying that I’m at my wits’ end. But for once, we have the control. Please, do not let it slip through your fingers. Voting allows us to be heard, to give the power to those who truly represent us. 

I leave you with a quote from Senator Bernie Sanders: “If we truly believe in a vibrant democracy, then we must have the highest voter turnout in the world.”

First-year, Kate McBride, is a contributing writer. Her email is kmcbride@fandm.edu. 

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