Freshman Isabella M. Moves onto District for the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest from Conducted by the Veterans Of Foreign Wars


It is the right, privilege and duty to vote as a citizen of your country and a member of your community. Individuals might think their vote does not matter, but votes can shape foreign, economic and social policies.


Today our world has gone under major threat of not only terrorist, dictators, but also major corporations. We no longer can stay oblivious of the policies and policy makers of our nation. Today, we are the defenders of not only our future but also the future of America and subsequently the future of our world.


Every citizen should exercise their right to cast a vote in an election. People have died to establish this right to be heard, to have a say in social, political and economic matters and to leave the best administration for future generations. People who do not vote but complain about how the government is run are dissemblers. You must earn your right to complain.

Each election more people that did not vote outnumber the people that did. If “I did not vote” had been a candidate in the 2016 US Presidential Election, it would have won by a landslide. Many studies have been done to find out why people don’t vote and while there is no consensus, there are some factors people have in common that keep them from voting. Voters consider consciously or unconsciously a cost/benefit analysis to determine if their cost of voting outweighs the benefit, which includes the opportunity cost of things they give up while voting. Other voters make their decision not to vote based on more philosophical reasons such as none of the candidates appeal to them or all are corrupt and incapable of making a change for the better due to institutional corruption and/or favoritism to keeping the system unchanged and to keep the same people or parties in power.


But enough of the naysayers who say voting does not make a difference.


Say your vote does not make a difference to the 900,000 Dreamers under the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that need your support and your vote to stay in this country.


Explain why your vote doesn’t count to the over 40 million people that would be without health insurance if you do not vote for candidates that support health care reform that would keep the Affordable care act in place.


Try not to cry when you tell the loved ones of the victims of gun violence why you failed to vote to pass common sense gun control measures. For example, the 11 people that died in Pittsburg.


Imagine the future of climate change and why you did not vote for climate change legislation that would reduce greenhouse gases that would lead to rising oceans and extreme temperature fluctuations that would destroy the planet and cause millions of deaths if we do not act now.


Your vote could lead to comprehensive immigration reform that would allow illegal aliens in this country to become citizens and create a pathway to citizenship for future immigrants without building a wall.


Visit a VA hospital and explain to veterans why you did not vote to provide funding for PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries, combat trauma) and the homeless veterans with a backlog of 1.2 million claims at the veteran’s administration.


Our country was once described as a “Shining city on a hill” that served as a symbol to all Americans and people around the world. The statue of liberty has the following poem on its pedestal “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free”. We are a country that guarantees protections to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and a government created for the people, of the people and by the people. This “Shining city on the hill” will only continue to exist if each and everyone of us exercises our right to vote. Please don’t be the one with your name on the “Ballot left uncast”.