Emily Hunter is a sophomore journalism major and writes “Speak Out” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
For the past several months, the 2020 U.S. election has been taking over our lives. Between social media ads, campus campaigns and countless news articles, we can’t escape it. As a first-time voter, it is starting to feel overwhelming.
When I was younger, I was taught that voting is not only a right and privilege, but an expectation — if you don’t vote, you don’t care about your country. This made perfect sense to me when I was young, but as I grew, the wool was lifted from my eyes, and the reality of my “civic duty” became clear.
I saw the ugly side of politics — the conflicts, the deceit and the parties that were constantly at war. I saw the hatred seeping into the heart of our country. Each side started shoving their own agenda down my throat without remorse. I was being groomed to think the way they wanted so they could force me into a box titled “left” or “right.” People would ask who I was voting for with disinterest and a critical eye, waiting for me to challenge their views so they could strike. Turning 18 felt like stepping into a battlefield.
I almost didn’t register to vote this year. The pressure of the newfound knowledge and responsibility made me want to not participate at all. Why would I willingly jump into this cesspool of toxicity? It may just be the trademark Gen Z nihilism talking, but it all felt so hopeless.
On Oct. 5, the last day to register to vote in Indiana, I came to an important realization. The hand my generation has been dealt is horrible. There’s no doubt about that. The country that is being passed down through generations has cracks as deep as the ocean floor. It’s not fair that we are burdened with cleaning up a mess we didn’t even make.
However, no matter how unfair the entire situation is, sooner or later, this country will be in our hands. Why not start shaping it now, before any more damage is done? A single vote may seem like whispering in a hurricane, but with enough voices, a whisper becomes a roar. Eventually, the storm will pass, and we can begin the repairs. With only a few hours left, I registered to vote for the 2020 election. Nothing is more important than this Indiana girl’s voice.
I believe many college students have come to the same conclusion I have: sitting silently in the shadows does more harm than good. So, if you’re like me and so many other first-time voters and are terrified of what Nov. 3 will bring, have courage. Educate yourself. Seek truth. Step into that booth with the knowledge you are not alone. There are millions of us stepping with you.
Contact Emily Hunter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.