I couldn’t vote during the 2016 Presidential election, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t following it closely. My preferred candidate was Bernie Sanders, but we all know how that turned out.
When I found myself grimacing at the two frontrunner candidates for our nation’s highest office, I had but one thought: Well, the Presidency doesn’t really matter, nothing will change regardless.
I was only half right. Nothing would change – for me. The next year I pulled back my political participation, no longer reading articles and trying to stay informed, as I thought it was a waste of time because none of the news was truly impactful for me.
It didn’t dawn on me for awhile that the ability to just tune out what our government was doing is an extreme privilege. Now, I don’t come from a rich family. We’re upper middle class at best, but both my parents have secure jobs. However, this security has almost sheltered me from what it’s like to truly depend on a candidate like Bernie Sanders to help push for policies that could change my life.
For me, the 2016 Presidential election was just a fun joyride. For others, it was literally a death sentence due to an administration that hasn’t passed any meaningful healthcare reform. It was a life sentence for those still incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses, in a system that seeks profit instead of rehabilitation.
2020 is coming up fast, and I realize now that while I have the privilege to stay silent, I won’t be. No matter your views, I encourage you to be vocal and do your best to speak up for those that need it the most.