Privilege Beyond Right: Why I Didn't Vote In The Last Election
Oh, you expect me to vote for the next President of the United States of America? You trust me with that much power?
I will tell you upfront, right now, I am not informed enough to vote. I'm not an informed voter and I don't believe it's all my fault.
We live in a country where standardized testing is the main goal. As long as you get a good grade on that standardized test, the government doesn't care about the rest of your education.
I was forced to memorize how many seats fill in Congress and how many terms the House of Representatives serve. I was never taught what makes a good presidential candidate.
To be clear, I am not anti-America. I love America. I think it is an amazing country that has provided me with an insane amount of opportunities that I will be eternally grateful for.
However, I do believe it is a country that was built on greatness that has slowly fallen because we've forgotten what we stood for. (I believe “Newsroom” says it best.)
We worry about quotas instead of worrying about people. As a student drowning in student debt, I don't feel like the government cares about my education.
Being from a middle-income home, I attended public school all my life. I was trapped in a system that didn't care about knowledge.
I was trapped in a system that was forced to worry about meeting a standard.
I can vividly remember the moment I realized there was something wrong with our education system.
I was in a classroom in 11th grade and we were learning about some pivotal battle in American history.
I raised my hand and asked my teacher, “But why did General So-and-So do such-and-such?” (Truthfully, I can't remember exactly what I asked now, but her response remains the same.)
My teacher's response: “Oh, you don't need to know that, it won't be on the test.”
I slumped back in my chair and shut up for the rest of the class. How didn't she understand that I didn't want this information for a stupid test?
Why didn't she understand that I wanted this knowledge for my brain? I thought that was what school was about.
Until that moment, I believed you went to school to broaden your horizons, expand your knowledge and better yourself for a brighter future, (or at least that's what every inspirational poster told me).
There is a reason parents, teachers and students alike are protesting the common core. It is a broken system that is failing our young people — young people who need to be educated. I need to be educated.
I want to learn about more than just Democrats and Republicans. I want to learn more than just how the president signs a bill. I want to learn how Nixon permanently changed politics and why Lincoln's social reforms are still praised.
I want to learn how we need to begin to turn around global climate change and where we went wrong to begin with.
I need help deciphering between Clinton, Pataki, Sanders and Bush because right now, I feel talked at and talked down to.
I want to be an informed voter. I don't want to hope that the Electoral College will save my uninformed behind.
In fairness, I can't rely on someone else to take charge of my education. Looking back, I wish I'd told that teacher exactly what I thought of the standardized tests.
I wish I'd demanded an explanation about General So-and-So.
I've slowly begun to take charge of my education, and it is empowering. I can't begin to calculate the countless amount of hours I've spent reading up on the upcoming presidential election.
I've read every single candidate's campaign speech and read all about their ideas for reform and new policies.
I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for yet, but I am sure I'm going to vote, because in the 16 months before the election, I will cram as much political know-how into my brain as possible.
I want to be apart of the generation that changes the world, and that starts with our education. It starts with being informed and being concerned about our next president, because everything our next president does will directly affect our futures.
So read up, read on and screw the Electoral College because we don't need it anymore.
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