Voting: A Privilege and a Responsibility

By Mackenzie Harris
September 27, 2016

As a millennial and a “Pope Francis voter” I cannot stress how concerned I am for our nation during this Presidential election. We’ve been faced with some of the most hateful messages from potential leaders of our country – it’s embarrassing. Frankly it isn’t what the title President of the United States of America means to me.

I may sound like just another millennial complaining about the government, but isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t we all be working for a better, more just society? It is a privilege that we live in a place where we decide the leaders of our country, so why not take advantage of it?

In many ways I think we get lost in our privilege and forget that we have the responsibility to use it to lift up the voices of people on the margins. And because we are Americans we have the right to speak directly to the causes at hand by voting, contacting our Members of Congress, or speaking out in our community.

I moved to Washington, D.C. to join NETWORK, and to use my privilege to work for the greater good. I’m inspired by NETWORK’s mission and my peers, who speak out about the importance of voting. The truth is, voting is the primary way to have a say in justice. As an American, each and every citizen has a responsibility to hold our government accountable for their actions through civic engagement and activism.

However, questioning our democracy and not doing anything about it is just a scapegoat to push the responsibility onto someone else. And in reality, it’s up to everyone.

Whether you have zero interest in getting caught up in the “drama” of politics or would rather spend your time occupying your mind elsewhere, I encourage you to spend time educating yourself on the Presidential candidates and the importance of voting. NETWORK has created Side by Side comparisons of the major Presidential candidates, and Senate races in several key states to help you see where the candidates stand on our Mend the Gap issues.

Although I am discouraged by the bigotry and hate spewed this past year, I am looking forward to Election Day as a time for unity in our nation. I am excited for our people to come together to work for the common good. I believe in this country and especially the people in it, because when faced with adversities we can overcome and together we can create systemic change.

This is the government we have; now it’s up to us to participate so our democracy works by choosing our leaders, and lobbying them on issues we care about.

Do you want to be a part of the group that says “voting is pointless” or turns a blind eye while our nation is in desperate need of your support?

I hope not. Register to vote today!

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