Many have labeled the 2020 presidential election as “The Most Consequential Election of our Time.” After dominating news channels for months, circulating through social media and dictating dinner table discussions, few will dispute the election’s significance. With this election, a new responsibility launches dozens of seniors out of childhood and into adulthood: the right to vote.
“I think it was super fitting that one of the biggest elections of our time was going to be my first one [voting],” said senior Savanna Ostrander. “For me, it really settled in that we have such a privilege in our country to be able to vote for our next president.”
The ability to vote spurred seniors toward a new level of examination and intrigue regarding political issues and candidates. While some seniors, including Ostrander, reported a lifelong passion for politics, others, such as Tiffany Osborn, revealed their interest in politics to be a new development.
“I take more consideration into [elections] and research more than I used to because you have to take everything seriously now that your voice is going to affect the country,” said senior Rebecca Wettlaufer.
While remaining dependent on parents, 18 year old students experience adulthood in tangible ways: college classes, less parental supervision, money management and voting ability. Wettlaufer describes voting as a privilege reserved for adults.
“I think voting has changed my relationship with my parents a tiny bit in the little responsibilities,” said Osborn. “I don’t feel completely different, but there’s definitely a higher standard now that I’m an adult.”
With the country surfacing from a nationwide quarantine and raging protests over racial injustice, seniors plunge into adulthood during a chaotic, turbulent time in America. Osborn and senior Will Watson detailed the impact of the nation’s chaotic events in heightening the importance of their newfound role of voting.
“I feel like [voting] is more needed than ever right now,” said Watson. “It just feels more necessary now than ever to vote with everything going on in such a crazy time.”
Although many factors, such as the recurring effects of COVID-19, contribute to the nation’s tension, Ostrander proposed that much of the hostility may stem from the 2020 presidential election. A 2020 study conducted by Brown University found America to be polarizing politically faster than any other democracy.
With division and hatred escalating to new heights, the question is presented: how can one remain peaceful and upbeat throughout such chaotic surroundings?
“One thing that I was reminded of [while voting] was that the Lord is in control, and all I can do is my part,” said Ostrander. “No matter what anyone does with the election, the Lord has the final say.”