Well, here’s why.

Dont+use+a+common+excuse%3B+get+out+there+and+vote.+

Olivia Silvey

Dont use a common excuse; get out there and vote.

2002 babies, this year is our time to shine. Well, as long as you’re born before Nov. 3. We are the next wave of Gen Zs turning 18, which comes with a lot of privileges — you’re able to sue someone, get married and get a piercing, all without having to convince your mom. The most exciting one, however? Voting. 

As most of us in government class have learned, our age group isn’t really stepping up when it comes to voting. We have had consistently low turnout compared to the Boomers or even our older parents, until the 2018 midterms when we really started to show up. According to Pew Research Center, one in 10 eligible voters will be from Generation Z in 2020. We have the potential to build on that momentum and make some changes. 

Some of you may roll your eyes. Here we go again, another leftist column about why we should vote to get Sanders or Warren or really, anyone but our current president in the Oval Office. I’m here to tell you that is not my plan. I’m not here to give you an argument for this 2020 candidate or the next. I’m just here to tell you that you should form an argument of your own. Have an opinion, whether it’s liberal, conservative or somewhere in the middle. 

Of course, there are plenty of people nowadays who vote without forming their own political beliefs at all. As our world becomes increasingly polarized, meaning liberals and conservatives clash more (remember Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, ripping up the State of the Union speech?), it’s easy to align yourself with blue or red and simply point fingers at the other side. Whether it’s for the general presidential election or Kirkwood’s local school board election — which is April 7, by the way — people tend to stick to their party without knowing what candidates are saying about policy. 

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Even though I can’t vote, I’m guilty of this as well. It’s easy to ride the coattails of my parents’ beliefs that have formed over 50 years of life. I can nod along and promise to vote for whoever would make them proud. 

But I don’t encourage this. Parents are great for asking questions or to have discussions with. But if the government deems us (almost) 18-year-olds capable of voting, we should take advantage of the opportunity as soon as we can. Gather information on what topics matter to you. Maybe it’s the environment, or 2nd Amendment rights, or abortion — or all three. Read the news, even if it’s a few social media captions or 140 Twitter characters… and then fact check it. Or find your news elsewhere: The Washington Post is on Tik Tok, as well as NBC News, ESPN and Vogue Italia, among many more media outlets.

Voting isn’t just about political parties and winning. Voting, especially for us newbies, is our first chance to establish ourselves in our country as citizens with a voice — people worth listening to. It’s not just one vote in millions. It’s a vote in our state, in our county, in our school. When we vote, and do it according to what we believe in, not only are we servicing our country but our own selves. 

To register to vote, read here