Posted on: November 2, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Mariam Itani, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, many students at Moraine Valley will be voting for the first time. It’s crucial that we take this opportunity seriously because we are the youth of America. If we wish to have our voices heard, we must place our vote; if we wish to bring about changes to this country, we must place our vote; if we wish to stand up for what we believe in, we must place our vote. As citizens of the United States, it is our responsibility to uphold this nation’s democracy as best we can – let us not limit this privilege.

This privilege is the ability to make a statement: a statement of freedom, strength, equality, betterment, and opportunity. If we want politicians to draw attention to issues we believe are worthwhile, then we must utilize the strongest resource that allows us to do so and cast our vote.

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”

President Josiah Bartlet

Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing

Political engagement is the tool by which citizens of America can decide their future; if we do not decide for ourselves, someone else will do it for us. Unfortunately, many demographics do not believe in their political efficacy and in essence allow others to speak for them. This is made blatantly evident by voter turnout rates in the 18-24 age demographic (incidentally, the largest demographic here at Moraine). Unbeknownst to them (or rather us), one less vote cast by a young voter, is offset by one cast by an older who may not hold the same interests at heart. This effectively amounts to lack of universal healthcare, extortionate university fees, discrimination and inequality being ever present; this amounts to our daily lives being affected significantly. If this is not brought out by outright malice, then certainly by the lack of diverse opinions of various age, gender, racial, and economic demographics. 

In the not-so-distant past, people of color, women, and incarcerated persons have had to fight, often sacrificing their lives, to attain the right to vote. In many cases, they continue to fight as some states continue to suppress the votes of some by closing polling places, purging registration roles, implementing photo ID laws, and continued litigation to invalidate ballots. The rights of those amongst us are consistently jeopardized; if not by Jim Crow, if not by segregation, if not by obstruction to healthcare or education access, if not by the closures of our schools “due to budget cuts,” if not by the gatekeeping of the necessary tools for success, then by our own outright complacency and apathy. As people in Texas wait up to six hours to vote, we know that complacency can be fought. We must join their ranks. 

Democracy must be sustained if we wish to sustain a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Aaron Sorkin wrote, “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Truer words have yet to be spoken. This year, show up, vote, and help make the decisions for OUR future.

For more information about voting in your districts see the Voter’s Guide here.