Our Right to Vote

Julius Olavarria | December 17, 2023


Our right to vote is the most important thing this country has. The constitution, democrats and republicans, senators and representatives, and our republican system would be nothing without this fundamental right. Millions have died to preserve our country and its voting democracy. It’s likely millions more will die to preserve our country and our democracy. Now, more than ever, we need our right to vote: our country is built upon voting and voting preservation. Data from across the country shows that this could be in danger, with voting the only way to fix pressing national issues.

Leave the World Behind is a haunting thriller/drama that leaves viewers questioning the state of our democracy. Is our government really that precarious? Is civil war really on the horizon? 

This movie left the media in a frenzy, especially because Obama sponsored the film. The Director Sam Esmail stated that Obama wanted this movie to serve as a “...cautionary tale about what could happen if we don't have that community or bond that holds us together.”

The movie itself is scary, but Obama’s sponsorship is on a whole other level. It’s horrifying to entertain the possibility of our government falling, and what that would mean for the millions across the world that depend on its functionality. Obama confirms this possibility. 

I’m not here to talk about the logistics of the movie or give any spoilers. If you haven’t seen it you should get the point by now- the government falls because of chaos, paranoia, and divided government that have been building in our country for decades. It’s an orchestrated attack on our country and no one knows who to blame. 

First, the perpetrators knocked out the power grid, causing mass chaos and dysfunctionality. Second, they spread misinformation, causing division and mistrust. Third, the civil war started: they sat back and watched as the country tore itself apart, ending the “empire” of the United States as we know it. 

As Obama says, this is a possibility if we don’t have a community or bond that holds us together. I think he means something further than “loving your neighbor” and getting active in local policy. I think he is talking about the bond between our elected representatives and constituents. The unifying bonds are increasingly deteriorating, the disconnect becoming more evident than ever, and I think that has something to do with the way we conduct our democracy- not political divides.

The only way to ensure community between the local, state, and federal governments is voting. 

According to the Pew Research Center, “about two-thirds (66%) of the voting-eligible population turned out for the 2020 presidential election – the highest rate for any national election since 1900.” 

This is supposed to be a good statistic. The highest rate since 1900 means more people are getting involved in democracy, right?

This statistic does not account for population growth and the basic facts of a 66% voting population. The population of the US in 1900 was 76 million and women could still not vote at that time. To say that this voting rate is higher than in the 1900s is a joke. Males dominated the voting scene, so of course the rate was higher- their votes counted more, as they were the only ones who could vote. The number of eligible voters was markedly low, to compare it with today’s rate is an injustice to readers. 

Furthermore, a 66% voting population for a representative democracy is horrible. All eligible voters need to vote. Asking “what difference is my vote going to make” is the worst way to think in a democracy. Our government needs voting now more than ever- this mindset is like cancer for change. 

According to globalcitizen.org, the large majority of eligible voters who refuse to vote come from young adults, likely with this mindset. Although a separate matter, this refusal comes from the disconnect between young adults and eligible voters- they don’t see how their votes will enact change and how they will be represented on a national level. They don’t know what party to choose because they can’t relate to any. All of the candidates are rich, 60-year-old individuals who spend a lot of their time on cultural issues that don’t affect young demographics. 

They don’t vote as a result. 

I say use your vote for that reason. Your vote is a weapon to enact change. Voting gives you a voice in our representative democracy. Young individuals need to research candidates’ political agendas. Young individuals need to participate in primary elections- which candidate would best cater to their interests. This seems obvious, but most young voters don’t put in the time. They simply don’t care and refuse to participate in their democracy.  

In this way, they take the system for granted. Millions of Americans throughout our history have sacrificed their lives to preserve our democracy. There should be no reason for young individuals- future leaders of America- to neglect this opportunity. Yes, it’s an old system, but it’s one that has been used for centuries by millions before us. Back then, the young voters mattered- they shaped the country through their votes. I believe we can do that today. I believe we need to do that: our country will be in our hands soon, and engaging in politics and voting is the only way to ensure a safe transition from one generation to the next.