A First Time Voter Reflects on the Midterms During this Divided Time

November 7, 2018


By Haely Katt

Today I feel overwhelmingly purple and to be purple in a blue and red world is kind of an awkward feeling. I have chosen as my parents would like to say, to be an “idealist”. Perhaps it is my inexperience to the harsh world of politics or the fact that I have only absorbed a small amount of fake news. Whatever the reason, I have come to accept that it is okay to be a bit in between. However, in virtually every area of my life I am told to be either blue or red. That if I do not go to one side then I am hindering progress or if I do not fully commit to a party then I am living in a delusion. People like to tell me that there is not a middle ground and to that sentiment I feel hugely disappointed. When people tell me that I cannot have a mixed bag of feelings about what America should be, I can not help but wonder what democracy is in America.

For me, I have never seen politics as cut and dry, as much as Fox News or CNN would like to believe, there is a place where progress can be made that is kind of in the center. Democracy is supposed to encourage differing viewpoints. Yet it has almost become taboo for mass media to express an opinion that differs from an extreme political view. Most Americans have prohibited themselves from looking at politics from a logical viewpoint because they have become so jaded by their political party that they cannot even imagine that their party might be wrong. The other side is the enemy, to be looked at as venomous monsters. And the sad thing about that approach is it stops true democracy. When you become demonized for believing in an America that is different from the next, you stop tolerance and empathy.

Maybe the problem is not the voters but our voting system. I have a feeling that a lot adults who when they were my age faced a similar dilemma and now they have just hardened their heart to the possibility that there is a middle ground. However, I hope to remain steadfast that eventually there will be a less divided nation and democracy will be celebrated. Because democracy is slow and in order for change to be made it requires voters to get up and vote for the America they want.

I voted because I know what it took for women to be allowed to vote. I voted because there was a time when African Americans could not shape the America they lived in. I voted because I believe that the #MeToo movement does not just belong to the elite politicians and actors and actresses but to every single women or girl who has been sexually assaulted or harassed and can not even make it to court. I voted because I believe that our education system has to be reformed. I voted because I think that there has to be regulation on the amount of pollution that is put into our ecosystem. I voted because I believe that there has to be more attention to those with mental illnesses. I voted because I believe that no matter how small my voice is, that it matters.

Yes, I know that there is no guarantee that anything in this sector will be done. I know enough of politics that change will be slow and that it might take decades before anything is accomplished. But I have this undying belief that I can shape the government to be what I want it to look like.  

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