By, Conor Dunleavy
The 2016 Election will undoubtedly go down in the history books as one of the most polarizing, intense, unpredictable and memorable elections in United States history. For these reasons, I was excited to vote in this election, mostly to get this yearlong circus over with (although the vote could just be the beginning).
Before I was eligible to vote, I used to go with my father on Election Day to vote. I would see the masses enter the school, buzzing with a mix of excitement and nerves, followed by everybody one by one stepping inside the booth, closing the curtain, and pulling the lever. I found that process so cool and old fashioned, so obsolete in a day and age of the Internet, and something that I really wanted to do! You can imagine my disappointment when I showed up this morning to my voting place and there were no levers. I can’t complain too much though, because they hadn’t completely digitized the process in my district. Rather than pulling the lever, you bubble the circle next to each candidate you wish to vote for. The process of bubbling in a candidate is far greater in my opinion than a completely digitized version where it’s the same as clicking on which of your favorite pairs of shoes you’re going to buy that day.
I’m glad I voted in person, because for me, it brought a sense of reality to an otherwise seemingly unrealistic chain of events. All of the campaign rally’s, advertisements, debates, mudslinging and constant news cycles made me feel a bit numb to the whole process. It wasn’t until I stepped up to the desk after waiting in line and received my ballet that the reality of the situation began to sink in.
Living in America, we see the perks of our society day in and day out and don’t think twice about it. Freedom of speech, religion, press, and all the rights we’re provided by this country. It was one of the few experiences in my life that gave me a direct connection to the country I live in. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we can express our different opinions, and acts on those opinions by voting.
Regardless of who you cast your vote for, make sure to vote today. Before voting today, my father told me, “I believe this is the most important thing you can do as a citizen, and you can tell your kids your father told you that,” Brian Dunleavy. As insignificant as you may think your vote is, it’s true. Our nation was built on fundamental principles such as this one, and by taking your opportunity to vote, you’re putting yourself in the conversation and standing up in order to help build a country that’s better than we received it.
For those of you who voted, I hope you find peace in the following days regardless of if the candidate you support is nominated. For those of you that didn’t vote because there was no candidate they could support, I respect your opinion. I can only hope that in the next election cycle, there’s a candidate who appeals to your beliefs and gets you to express your opinions through voting. I hope everyone takes advantage of his or her right as a U.S. citizen, because it’s an experience I know I will remember for the rest of my life.
Happy Election Day to us all, and good luck to every single one of us on November 9th…