For the most part, I try to keep my political opinions to myself because I know how frustrated I get when people relentlessly try to impress their political values and ideologies on me. I support respectful debates and open dialogues about issues that affect our country, but I dislike when people inundate my social media feeds with tasteless (and oftentimes, uneducated) banter.
I wish people realized that voting in itself is the most effective communications channel. Silently casting your ballot is the best way our nation can actively speak up about policies, social issues and the future state of affairs. Every citizen has a right to their own opinion, and the beauty of Democracy allows us to express how we feel and participate in government without being punished.
Mobilizing voters is harder than it should be; I almost forgot to change my address and re-register this year. Who has the time? Where’s my precinct? Where do I vote early? These simple questions have simple answers, but they impede on our convenience and ultimately prevent people from heading to the polls, especially young people.
Texas is a challenging state to live in because it historically has leaned a certain way in elections. Young people often don’t think their votes matter here – and to be honest, they probably won’t impact the majority in many years. But to not vote is inaction. Not voting is silence. Even when it doesn’t make a difference, by not voting, you’re ignoring your right as a citizen. You lose your right to opinion. You lose your right to complain. Why have a right as powerful as voting if you choose not to exercise it?
I voted for Obama. Sure, Texas was still a Red state in the end (as expected), but my county was blue. I’m proud to live in a city whose residents proudly went to the polls and cast their ballots anyway. In order to make way for change, you have to start with baby steps.