I am a first time voter in the year of 2020. That is a strange concept to grasp. There is the first idea of being a new voter and finally having the freedom to have a say in who runs our country, and then there is the fact that it is in the middle of a global pandemic and this crazy year of 2020. The year 2020 will always be remembered as one of the toughest years in history, but I think that it is also one of the most important. This is the year that people realized how little things are more important, standing up for what is right is always necessary, and using our voices to make our mark in this world is worth everything.
This election, even though it was a whirlwind of emotions and anxiety, is my first election and I’m grateful for that. As a first time voter, I finally get a say in my rights and more importantly my future, but I also have a huge responsibility in that. It is more than just filling in a bubble on a ballot and deciding who to vote for. This is about research and educating myself on every topic that I have the power to change. Every vote matters because anyone can make a difference in the world.
Upon recognition that I would get to vote in this election, I already knew who I was going to vote for to be our next President, but wanted to do as much research as possible to support my opinions with facts, and ultimately choose who would best support what I need most. I spent days researching to solidify my decision, but also to educate myself on things I was unaware of before.
Having the means necessary to research, read, and educate myself on any topic, is one of the greatest opportunities one can possess. There are always going to be concepts or topics that I will know of, but not fully understand. It is okay not to know everything about a topic initially, as long as I am aware of it and willing to do the work necessary to fill in what I do not know. This is how we understand people and their life experiences better because we may never understand fully, but we can stand by them.
This has been something I have stuck to and practiced consistently throughout this powerful year. I research and understand, so I do not miss out on the opportunity to learn more and then be capable of educating someone else as well. I have seen this in my generation, especially throughout this election and being new voters, but also through all of the protests for Black Lives Matter.
These protests and the political movements my generation has fought for are similar to the generation of young new voters in the 1970s. That generation fought for the countercultural movement that rejected mainstream American life and fought for change. To me, this is the most important thing about being a new voter and having the freedom to exercise my voice. It is about fighting for the rights of women, for the LGBTQ community, for the end of systemic racism, for people who feel like they don’t have a voice. The individual elected as president is more than a new person to run our country, but also one to support the people who live in it as well.