Regardless of who you voted for, this election should have made one thing clear: it is extremely important to voice your opinion.
What’s important to you? Taxes, the environment, health care? Who do you think is going to make the best decisions about those policies? Voting is not about popularity, but about selecting a representative to lead our community in the right direction. Your vote lets the world know where you stand on the issues.
But there are additional options. Yes, voting is extremely powerful and important, but it is not the only way to make your voice heard. Local politicians—such as city council members, state senators, and congresspersons—they all read the newspapers that serve their districts in order to keep a finger on the pulse of the communities they represent. They are reading the same news stories as you, the same cartoons, the same movie reviews. These very words! How do I know? Because I have had the honor of meeting many of them through my dad’s work with this newspaper.
So if you want to let your local representatives know what you think—about a new tax increase, or a potential improvement for the school district, or potholes in the roads—write a letter to the editor. Your words could be published here for everyone to read and consider. Who knows, you might spur new legislation! At the very least, you will probably find people who agree with you and want to band together for a change. Your reasoning could help educate someone about the issue, or convince someone on the fence. You might find yourself engaging in friendly debate the next time you’re in line at the grocery store.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a “chatterbox,” as my dad affectionately nicknamed me at age three, but I know I am always looking for more ways to make my voice heard. I was proud to cast my first vote four years ago, and whether or not elections go my way, I will always participate in the democratic system. But I have come to recognize that I can make a greater impact on a smaller scale. We all can. So think about what matters to you today, and tell someone. Your best friend, your teacher, your coworkers, your cat. Write down your reasons, write down what someone on the opposite side might say, and then figure out how you would reply. Sleep on it. And if you still think it sounds pretty good in the morning, send it our way.
We look forward to hearing more of your voices in the future.