My frustration began as a sixteen-year-old girl. Enraged with the rise of Donald Trump and new conservative ideals, disappointed in emerging political polarization, and concerned with the future of my rights. As the United States’ midterm elections inch closer, I remember how nervous I was three years ago. I remember how badly I yearned for my voice to matter.
After some fear and uncertainty throughout my teenage years, I’m fortunate. I discovered new possibilities, moving to the United Kingdom just over a month ago. I live in a reality where the privileges I enjoy — efficient healthcare, reproductive rights, sustainable environmental policy — are secure. I’m not worried in the same way I was in past elections. Not concerned for my own well-being, but for my friends and family at home who may have to face limitations on their own rights.
The days where the notion that United States policies disrupt my own sense of security are in the past. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a dire need to build a better America than I left behind.
I feel a need to remind friends at home that we don’t have to passively participate anymore. As the next generation of voters, we are at the forefront of change. I am voting 5,500 miles away from home because I am one of many who are concerned. It worries me that I have only been away for a month and have already witnessed shameful treatment of my Supreme Court. It frightens me that we generally aren’t motivated to change that trend of carelessness, though our future depends on it.
Now is not the time to be apathetic. Now is not the time to be passive. In our ever-changing political arena, it is time to call the shots. It is time to do your duty. It is time to vote where it impacts you most.
Every one of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for grabs, and a third of seats in the Senate are available too. My local elections hold incredible weight this election, and I’m sure this is the case in countless other areas.
A change in our youth’s mentality, a reduction in the level of apathy we see among young people, whether at home or abroad, can create a positive disruption in our worrisome climate. Each one of us is instrumental in making that change for the better. Whether making decisions eighteen hours or ten minutes away from our polling places, we are crucial to deciding our own fate. I urge my peers—from all backgrounds, both old and new, studying alongside me in the UK, or living back in the States—to officially take up their instrumental role in fostering a better future for their nations and for their local communities.