Tuesday, November 24

OPINION: Don’t give up on world, don’t give up on voting

OPINION: Don’t give up on world, don’t give up on voting

By Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography

Published on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020

What an extremely wild year. We’ve gone through highs but mostly lows.

A deadly virus gave us a cold start at the beginning of the year, murder hornets followed soon after, gender reveal parties were fire (literally), we had famous celebrities—most recently with longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek on Nov. 8—and political legends die and to top it off this seems like the year we’ve seen the most protests due to police brutality. America is begging for things to improve and it’s our duty to listen.

As the year slowly comes to an end, I know voting may have been the last thing on people’s minds. I know many busy students reading this struggled to fit in voting between their 9-to-5 jobs or online classes. Maybe you think voting doesn’t matter and everything is hopeless, but I’m here to tell you it does matter.

Earlier this year, I had the same “I don’t care” mentality. I was and still am a very strong Bernie Sanders supporter, since the 2016 election. Back then I was extremely young and hopeful. I thought, “If I vote, this man will be elected the Democratic nominee!” But, boy was I wrong.

Jessica Rodriguez
Jessica Rodriguez
Director of Photography and Social Media

It was much tougher than that. It was more like being in a rocky boat in the ocean. I saw land ahead, but large waves of obstacles came forward and pushed us back even further. After he lost, I patiently waited for 2020 to see him come back. And of course, he ran and lost again. I felt utterly defeated. I had flashbacks to “A Cinderella Story” (2004) where Hillary Duff’s character, Sam, told Austin Ames, “Waiting for you is like waiting for rain in this drought: useless and disappointing.”

I 100% felt that same pain around Election Day. The reason I resonated with that quote and why some might too, is because we often expect good outcomes in this world but are quickly let down. We have the illusion that democracy is completely representative of us as a whole but it’s more complicated than that.

We constantly want to be represented but we don’t get the results we want. We think, “What’s the point? Another rich white guy will replace that rich white guy again.”

I had to sit with myself and think about where I wanted to move forward from this. I thought a vote for Biden was useless because he wasn’t my candidate for president. It wasn’t until a friend of mine respectfully called me out on my way of thinking where I changed my mind.

“Privilege” was the word that was thrown at me and I stopped to think about what that really meant. As a straight, CIS-gendered woman of almost pale complexion living in a medium-sized Hispanic town, I did not fear for my life, I did not fear about my marital status in the future, nor did I fear being shot by police, among other things.

I had to realize that although these things do not directly affect me, they do affect everyone around me and so many others around the United States. I quickly decided to be more selfless and more aware of the battles we could win. Although my favored nominee didn’t win, this other person could be a gateway to a better future.

Voting is not like voting for prom king and queen but more like playing a game of chess. We have to sacrifice our pawns for our knights and bishops to move ahead. The queen will strike at the very end and we shall be victorious. It’s about the long haul and the small victories we win along the road there.

All I ask is that in your entire lives you don’t give up on voting, even when it feels useless. Vote like a massive thunderstorm striking on dry land. Vote like your life depends on it, because it sure does for someone else. When you vote, think of your friends who are DACA recipients, think of your family members who are permanent residents, think of all the people who died from COVID-19 this year and can’t vote anymore. Be someone’s voice and act upon change.

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