What It’s Like to Vote at Holderness

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Coming into November 2018 election day, I didn’t have many expectations of what it would be like. This year was my first year being eligible to vote. Naturally, I was very excited about being able to partake in a practice so essential to our political system. Due to being away at school, I wasn’t able to make it to the polls; however, I filled out an absentee ballot, so that I could still exercise my right to vote.

 

I discovered that voting for the first time wasn’t as daunting as I expected it to be. I found comfort in finally being able to voice my opinion to achieve rights that I believed in and, for once, felt like I was making a contribution to politics. However, it was when I returned to school that I realized people my age, including Holderness students may not fully understand election etiquette. Though I was thrilled to see how many students were interested in the questions on the ballot and the candidates, I was slightly taken back by the criticism that some of my peers offered to the conversation. Many people asked me who I voted for, why I voted certain ways, and I was even asked if I voted “red or blue,” as if it would completely define my character to that person. This made me come to realize that many people might not understand that not all people are willing to share their political views for the very reason that people may criticize their views.  

 

My reason for remaining anonymous derives from the same emotions that inspired me to write this article in the first place. It’s difficult for people to talk about their opinions in their teenage years. It’s just the simple truth that, unfortunately, has become too familiar in high school culture. Students at this age struggle to express their views out of fear of what other students will think or say about them. A person’s political views should be private to that person should someone else’s opinion cause shame to it. Being questioned if I voted “red or blue,” in particular, made me realize that many people are timid about sharing their political beliefs because some people let them define who you are. In the same way that we shouldn’t look down on people for their race, sexual orientation, religion, ability, gender, and more, it’s only fair that we don’t define someone based off of their political views. For me, the act of voting was the first of many opportunities to respectfully voice my opinion, and I hope Holderness can one day become a place where students are able to mindfully discuss their beliefs, rather than criticize.