A week ago, I went to grab lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We caught up about life, college, and of course, the pandemic. But after we got through those topics, our conversation shifted to politics. Obviously, we talked about Trump and his incompetence in handling the variety of issues our country is facing. But then we talked about the election. And I told him that I’m voting for Biden. He told me he wasn’t voting at all.
I was so confused. How could he not be voting for Biden? And how could he not vote at all? I asked him, and he went on to explain his reasoning. He articulated that the Democratic party needs to crumble so that we can build something that can actually help people. The classic, “Biden is a terrible candidate,” line was used. And he very clearly explained that his vote means something to him: when he votes for a candidate, it shows that he agrees with all of their policies. All of this made sense to me, and I realized that I have been so naive in thinking that everyone thought the same way that I did. I am so grateful that I got to hear him speak about why he isn’t voting, because I want to convince him—and other eligible voters like him—to mobilize and vote for Biden this November.
I understand where you are coming from. It’s easy to feel hopeless right now. Trump won the 2016 election even though *most* Americans didn’t vote for him. Recently, we have lost so many Americans because our governments, local and federal, blue and red, have failed to properly address all of the issues that Americans face. So it’s very understandable that people have “tapped out” and lost hope in politics. I know that this rhetoric comes from a place of disappointment or hurt, but I can’t help but feel like we are giving up on a battle we can win.
Some people have the privilege to refrain from voting because they feel like Democrats should “face consequences” for their corruption; these people can wait to vote for someone to bring significant change. But others can’t. In fact, a lot of people simply do not have the privilege to not participate in politics, because they are fighting for their own rights. The rights of so many groups—Native Americans, illegal immigrants, disabled people, low-income Americans, BIPOC, the LGBTQIA community (just to name a few)—are severely threatened by another term of Trump. These groups of millions of people can’t wait four more years because they are facing life-threatening decisions right now. But even if you are so privileged to not belong to any of the groups I just listed, your life is still threatened by Trump’s election, too. He has handled the pandemic in the worst way possible, and he will only continue to worsen the state of our country because of his failure to understand science and data. But if you think you’re careful and you won’t get the virus, I ask that you think about the environment. The earth can’t wait for radical change in 4 years. Our environment is deteriorating, and the Trump administration has reversed over 100 environmental policies, which has only accelerated the rate of deterioration.
I’m listing only a fraction of the issues that are affected by Trump’s presidency just so you know what people are talking about when they say that this election is a human rights issue. Trump is the most incompetent, unprofessional president in American history, and he doesn’t deserve a second term. But more importantly, the millions of people who need change right now shouldn’t need to wait four more years. Some of these people won’t make it four more years. It’s really that simple to me. And we can’t say that it’s okay if we don’t vote, because other people will. We must take matters into our own hands, and we must vote to protect the rights of our family, friends, and people who we might not know yet. We vote because we are compassionate human beings and care about other human beings. Simple.
We have the opportunity to make this election a turning point in our history if and only if we vote for Biden. I’m not happy about voting for him, but I will do it anyways. I will vote because I care more about the millions of people whose lives are at risk than whether my vote perfectly aligns with his policies or supports his past.
In twenty years, we will look back to this moment in our lives, and I hope that you can realize that this election is much more significant than we can currently fathom. Vote.