Welcome back readers! As the spooky festivities of Halloween is coming to an end, a new form of fear is manifesting in the shape of the midterm elections. On November 6th, which is in less than a week, all of the United States of America will have their chance to cast their votes for the people who represent them on a bureaucratic domain. The voting process is an empowering ritual where people have the power to elect voices to represent their needs. Elections bring together people of differing backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, religious, and more who each vote for the same goal — to be part of a revolution that sparks change.
Voting is a revolution in its simplest meaning. If change is needed, people must stand up for that change. When you select a checkbox on your ballot, you are igniting the prospect of change; you are taking part in a ceremony that is greater than yourself. Throughout our democracy, the results of those checkboxes have changed policies and shaped the way our society is today. Disbeliefs are surrounding the effects voting has on current elections. We often hear rhetoric around the time of the election along the lines of “the system is rigged” or “why would my vote matter.” Unfortunately, this belief system is the part of the driving force that keeps prospective voters from voting. Throughout the 21st century, voter turnouts have been decreasing by each election, and our age group is the voter demographic that is least likely to participate in this midterm election. This haunting revelation of our voter turnout rates has to change. This November 6th midterm election has to be our generation’s starting point to changing our narrative of being “lazy voters.” The importance of voting is a theme that is echoed across the chambers of our culture. Eric Liu is the founder of Citizen University, a program dedicated to promoting the self to claim a hold on powerful citizenship. In 2016, at TEDNYC, Eric Liu conducted his TED talk titled “There’s no such thing as not voting.” The discusses the evolution of voting culture and the need to bring back an agency for powerful citizenship through voting. The focal point to Liu’s talk is to revive the vibrant and collective culture of voting. The vibrant culture stemmed from the urban political movements of the 19th century. The potent pressures of voting created a culture of voting that was personable and created a parade-like atmosphere. Liu thrives to revive such a personable and welcoming atmosphere to voting. In Liu’s organization — Citizen University, he started a program called “The Joy of Voting” that brings the reminiscent amusing aspect of voting to local communities. “The Joy of Voting” has impacted four cities: Miami, Wichita, Akron, and Philadelphia. In Akron Ohio, the program collaborated with the local Wandering Aesthetics theatre to create public spectacles that will have a call to action to vote. The theatre would take local submissions of poems, prose, and other pieces to create “pick up truck” style performances that can inspire local communities to vote. The program received a poem submission from an ESL class from a local district, their poem read: "I would like to vote for the first time because things are changing for Hispanics. I used to be afraid of ghosts. Now I am afraid of people. There's more violence and racism. Voting can change this. The border wall is nothing.It's just a wall. The wall of shame is something. It's very important to vote so we can break down this wall of shame. I have passion in my heart. Voting gives me a voice and power. I can stand up and do something." Voting is a self-fulfilling ritual that can give everyone a chance to allow their voices to be heard. Let’s not be the generation hidden behind the wall of shame; the age that doesn’t take a stance to have our voices heard. On November 6th, cast your votes to ensure that your voice is heard.
Here at TEDxOhioStateUniversity, we follow TED's mission of creating a platform for ideas worth spreading. We give megaphones to those who roar for their voices to be heard, and their roars echo the words of bitten tongues. Voting gives you a platform for your voice to be heard, therefore don’t bite your tongue on during this moment of voting. It doesn’t matter if you vote early, or vote on November 6th; make sure your voice is accounted for during the process that selects our leaders that will do a lot of the talking for us.
For more information on Eric Liu’s talk. Click the link below