Something incredibly spectacular and special happened yesterday. It wasn’t that Donald Trump became the President-elect against all odds. Or that Hillary Clinton lost the electoral vote but won the popular vote. Those are both noteworthy and historic occurrences, but the spectacle lies within the action: Voting.
For the last 240 years of the American Experiment, citizens across the nation have exercised their unique right and freedom to vote for individuals to represent them. Individuals that represent their ideologies, policy stances, and ultimately individuals who share their vision for the future of America. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and everything in-between. This is an act that only a few countries around the globe can claim to support.
Granted, last night had winners and losers. The truth is, every election always has. But nearly 120 million individuals cast their ballots and participated in one of the greatest traditions America has to offer.
Everyone has a say, which is why voting is important, regardless of which candidate you vote for. So many people fought for your right to do so—Federalists in 1770, African Americans in 1860, Women in 1920—and continue to fight for it. I don’t have a problem at all if you voted for a third party, if you voted straight democrat or republican, or if you jumped across the aisle up and down your ballot. What I do have a problem with is if you didn’t vote because you didn’t really care.
Some of my friends on social media—millennials, mostly—shared that they didn’t really care about the election: not yesterday, not today, and probably not tomorrow. This is disheartening; this is concerning.
The world is changed by those who show up. By those who give a shit. So fellow millennials—show up and give a shit. Everyone has a stake in the country and the election, let your voice be heard. Participate in the action. No matter who you’re speaking out for, at least speak up.