Abstaining from politics is a personal choice


Let me admit it immediately. I’m one of those “irresponsible,” politically apathetic people.

At the age of 20, I’ve never cast a vote for political office, never registered as a voter, and never filled out a voting application. I’ve never even considered it.

Even before I turned 18, I knew I would not vote for many more years.

To be clear, I absolutely consider it my civic duty to vote.

I truly admire those who do, and especially my dedicated peers who send in for their absentee ballots and vote while at college. You have my ultimate respect.

But when it comes to my own voting, I am still staunchly uninterested.

When it comes to politics, however, I’m not quite so uninterested.

I follow the movements of each 2016 candidate closely through news outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

One of my favorite sites is Factcheck.org. Its analytical approach to politics appeals to me, and I find myself reading the page quite frequently.

So where does my voting apathy come from?

Certainly not my upbringing, my parents were always politically informed.

Every morning at home, I ate breakfast while watching the news and often discussed politics with my parents over the dinner table.

When I was eight or nine, I remember being particularly proud of myself for recalling that Colin Powell was the current Secretary of State.

I also remember watching portions of the 2008 Presidential Inauguration in school, and forming some very strong opinions about it.

The closest way I can describe my unwillingness to vote is that I feel like I’m not ready.

At 20 years old, I’ve lived in two places: rural western Massachusetts and Schenectady, NY.

I’ve always been surrounded by people a lot like me; my friends come from similar backgrounds and experienced similar opportunities in life.

I’ve never been hungry, homeless or felt unloved or hated by those closest to me.

I’ve also never been wealthy, never had to manage a company and never felt that everything I’ve worked for is unfairly being taken away from me.

At 20 years old, I’ve seen a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of this world, and even of this country.

Based on my woefully limited experiences, I do not feel qualified to make an educated decision on what is best for this country politically.

However, do not let this opinion reflect on you.

If you’re a hardcore voter, then good for you.

If you’ve never cast a vote in your life, then that’s okay too.

But my purpose in writing this is to ask that you let me have my opinion.

This is a personal choice I’ve made — ‘personal’ referring to myself and myself alone.

I believe that young people should vote; I believe that college-age adults should have a voice in politics.

But as for this college-age adult, as for this white woman who has lived a relatively narrow, privileged life, I don’t think her voice is ready to enter the political arena.

Having made this choice after a lot of thought, I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty.

This is my choice. I’ll vote one day; I know that, but that day is a long way off.



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