Midterm Reflection

On the night of November 6th this year my mom texted me:

“Are you watching the election results?”

“No,” I texted back, as I was walking back to my room, “But I’m a little traumatized from the last election we watched.”

I remember how it felt, far too vividly, two years before as I watched with growing horror Trump’s electoral college votes growing closer and closer to that 270 mark (presidential elections are won by whichever candidate gets to 270, or over half, of the available electoral votes first). I was shocked and shocked in a way I had never really experienced before. I felt as though I was experiencing a tragedy.

Looking back, though I still think the 2016 election showed a fairly significant lapse in this country’s sense of judgment, I don’t think it is appropriate to call it a tragedy. We’ve experienced a lot of tragedies since then, and while seeing Trump get elected was jarring, upsetting and generally unpleasant, it was also a demonstration of democracy in action (fine, I guess that statement depends on whatever your beliefs are about what went on with Russia, but that’s a whole other article).

I turned eighteen this September, so these midterms were my first chance to vote, and let me tell you, that felt pretty extraordinary. I sat down with my absentee ballot for the first time, and for one of the first times since the 2016 election, I felt like I was doing something that really mattered. It was exciting to research candidates outside of a classroom assignment, to try to understand the people who I would be elected to help run the city, or state, or country.

It is easy to feel like the right choice at this point in the country is just to tune politics out altogether, but we all still need to make an effort to pay attention, to be civically engaged, and to always, always, always vote!