Get Out and Vote

The 2016 election has been important to me for many reasons. For the first time in history, a woman is the presidential candidate for a major political party. Regardless of political affiliation, that is noteworthy and substantial. This is also the first election in which my peers and I are legally able to vote. As a woman, it is essential to me that I express my right to vote. I believe too many people have fought for my right to choose my leadership for me to waste it out of anger. So many people around the world would die for what we are given freely today in America. In 1916, women had no say in who was elected to lead them. In 2016, a woman is running for president. That is monumental. No matter your political party, it Is necessary to recognize the significance of that sentence. 

The young vote has become incredibly important to both Republican and Democratic parties. I believe it is important for our generation to be involved in politics, in the election, and in the voting process. I asked a group of my Saint Vincent peers, all of different genders and political spectrums, what this election means to them, and what it means for them to see a woman this close to the White House.

“As women, we have to think about voting for the candidate that will respect all individuals, no matter their gender or sexuality. After hearing comments that Donald Trump made regarding women, I cannot respect him or give him my vote. Voting for Hillary Clinton means to vote for equal human rights, and that is the most important aspect of the election to me.” –Courtney Kahl, JR, Democrat

 “Watching the debates showed that there is no difference between men and women when it comes to politics. The candidates debated their policies and took criticisms well…A president must be fit to lead the country, and I think women have shown they are more than capable of accomplishing that task.” –Adam Hubert, JR, Republican

“I think a woman running for president shows how far society has come in a relatively short amount of time. This election has given little girls something to hope for and look up to.” –Mariana Kuo, JR, Independent

“This election is bigger than bipartisan issues. There has been a focus on character issues, but that is not what an election should be about. The emphasis should be on what will make us a better nation…A female president would be the biggest possible step forward for gender equality in America.” –Will Gonsowki, SOPH, Democrat

“Women in major leadership roles is long overdue. They have proven to be just as capable, and have shown they make great leaders. Women represent a major part of our population, and it is a great step forward that gives young girls hope.” –Luke Good, JR, Independent 

“Honestly, I’m not a fan of this election. It has become more about shaming candidates than it is about the issues at hand. I feel a level of respect has been lost between American citizens as well. Rather than hearing each other out, people are automatically judging those with different views.” –Naomi Burke, JR, Republican

 “Who we elect represents who are are as a nation, and it is important that our president embodies our values. Many focus on the negative aspects of this election, but I feel we should focus on the positives, as our future is still bright. It doesn’t matter if our president is male or female, as long as they bring the right values to the table.” –Nick Lee, SOPH, Democrat

 

As a young woman, seeing a female candidate run for office has been eye-opening. Until this point in history, little boys have grown up seeing our founding fathers in their history books, and learning about the great men that built the nation. These are men that we cannot forget, who helped to shape the country that we live in today. But while there are countless women who worked equally as hard for this country, and who deserve to be remembered, they have been lost in history. Little girls have not learned to see women in those leadership roles…until now. Now, a five-year-old girl I know told me that she wants to be the next President of the United States. This election did that. This election put the idea in her head that one day she could hold that office. My hope is that is has done the same for little girls all over the country. 

My grandmother was born five years after women were granted the right to vote in the United States. That is less than one hundred years ago. Today, I am proud to live in a country where all citizens are free to express their constitutional right and privilege to elect our leaders. I believe in democracy, and freedom of expression, and basic human rights for men and women, regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. I believe in the America that my grandparents emigrated to, one in which they saw a better future for themselves and their families. We are still that great country. This election will be written about in books and discussed in classrooms long after November 8th. Be a part of that history. Have a say in who is chosen to represent your country to the world.  No matter your party, honor our nation’s past, protect our future, and get out and vote.