I’m Asking You To Listen: from GUMY Student Chloe
The 2020 presidential election is no doubt on many of our minds right now. Those eighteen and over get to exercise their constitutional right to vote. However, this leaves a large percentage of the population unrepresented. In the 2010 census it was found that 24% of America’s total population is under the age of 18.
We depend on you to act in the best interest of us. But what is our best interest?
Up until recently “the conversation” of politics has been largely confined to adults. Now, with plenty of issues threatening our future, kids are starting to get involved. From March For Our Lives to Project Drawdown and beyond, there has been a wave of political activism from students.
Did you know that we practice active shooter drills in school now? I was on crutches last time and had to crutch around the perimeter while teachers pointed out exits and where we were to run to. We also practice hiding out of sight and/or barricading the door.
I’ve never been asked how it feels to prepare for something as traumatic as a school shooter. We’ve heard those who have been through it. We’ve heard those in charge of laws related to it. We haven’t heard how the rest of us feel, the ones who feel as though they’re waiting for the worst.
Now we urge you to hear us. This not those 18 and over only’s America, it is all of ours. We too are affected by legislation passed by those in charge. So why do we not get a voice in the election of these officials? I urge you to consider listening to those not yet old enough to vote. I could go on about how we see these policies at work in our lives but if you’ve made it this far in the article then you already know that.
There’s so much fear and worry; so much hate and division. We are so much more similar than we are different. We all just want what’s best. That may look different to different people but the effect is the same: happiness, security, liberty, the right to live with freedom and equality.
I was born on November 4th, just one day after the cutoff to vote in the upcoming election. That has not decreased my own political activism this year. See, there’s a choice to be made. This choice cannot be made without informed consent. Listen. People are not marching without reason.
“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever” (All the Light We Cannot See).
Maybe you don’t agree. That’s ok. What’s not ok is to tune out others. We have to listen to each other now. We have to think, understand, and empathize. We are a deeply divided nation. It is times like these that we must recognize that we are all children of God. We must not think only of ourselves and our interests but of those who need us to fight for them. A lot of those people are not of legal age to vote.
Let us embrace and lift one another up in these trying times. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Do not stand aside. Inaction is an action in itself. I’m asking you to vote. I’m asking you to listen. I’m asking you to bring the conversation to us. But most importantly, I’m asking you to love because to love is to live.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12