Demi Lawrence is a sophomore journalism news major and writes "Unspoken" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Demi at email@example.com.
I believe it is our civic duty to vote. Not only do I believe it is our civic duty, I believe it is a privilege we possess as Americans that should not be taken lightly.
Midterm elections are upon us, and I feel that midterms hold equal importance – if not higher importance – than the presidential elections. No matter what election cycle is, who is running or what issues we are fighting, voting and the right to vote is a war our predecessors have been fighting for centuries.
The 15th Amendment granting African Americans the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1869. The 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1919. In the grand scheme of history, this is not that long ago.
Just under 150 years ago, African Americans were not allowed to have a say in the happenings of the country they lived in. Just under 100 years ago, same thing for women. Until then, the majority were deciding the happenings of the country. The upper-class, middle aged, straight, white men.
We are more than those simple, cookie cutter majority traits. And we should have voters, representatives and legislation that mirror that fact.
America is diverse, we are not just our majority. We are full of different races, ethnicities, languages, backgrounds, genders and lifestyles. Allowing the majority to speak for the everyone, including minorities, is like putting Wite-Out over them and the issues that plague them. That is unacceptable.
We no longer care about the issues that do not directly affect us. We do not care that in North Dakota, Native Americans living on reservations are being disenfranchised because they do not have a current street address. The Supreme Court introduced this law in early October, and it is a direct attack on Native American culture, heritage and livelihood. But why should we care, right?
We should care because of humanity. Humanity and empathy for those around us require care, to put yourself in one’s shoes. Just because it doesn’t affect you as a majority does not mean you should not care.
And minorities, you should care even more. Just over three years ago, gay marriage was not legal at the federal level in the United States. Hoosiers specifically won the right to same-sex marriage in 2014 with Baskin vs. Bogan. LGBTQ communities around the nation just received that right at the federal level in 2016.
And how did they get that fundamental right, which frankly, should have been granted many years ago? Through voting for and electing officials who shared their points of view.
An uprising does not happen in one day, or with one voice. It happens over time through growing support and many, many people rallying for their desired cause.
We are the future. The young people and minorities today will be the next Martin Luther King Jr’s, or the next Susan B. Anthony’s and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s. But we cannot get there if we do not vote.
We will not get there if we do not see voting as not only a civic duty, but a privilege.
Vote. Vote for who and what you love. Vote against who and what you hate. Have a say in the happenings of your homeland, because people fought for those rights granted just within in the last century and a half.
You do not have to be a minority to care about voting. But if you are a majority, consider your minority Americans and their rights. Consider your humanity. Consider the Martin Luther King Jr’s, the Susan B. Anthony’s and the Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s.
Consider the diversity of America. Maybe this election cycle, we can right a few wrongs and give an equal voice to all Americans.