The most important right that a citizen of the United States has is the ability to have the free choice to vote for whomever Americans please. It does not matter for the most part who Americans are. If someone is an American citizen and of age then they are allowed to vote as long as you are alive. This right allows citizens to control your government and the society that the people want to be apart off. This allows Americans to create a better future for the benefit of not just yourself but also that of the people around you. There has been many events that were pushed by activists that helped pave the way for all citizens to be allowed to vote.
Voting has always been such an important right to many of the United States citizens in this country but since the amount of young Americans on social media outlets has increased those young Americans are increasing their knowledge politically and being vocal about it which causes more opinions by their peers. Also there has been an even larger amount of considering the unbelievable amount of encouragement brought out from many friends, teachers and celebrities.
To be allowed to have a say in what our future will look like is an extreme power that we, as citizens should have. Many activists in the past have fought long and hard for all American citizens to be able to have the simple act of putting in a vote for whomever they want. Specifically, for people of color the most well known activist is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was educated enough to get respect for his ideas from many, but not all, which helped him create change in the system and change in people’s mindset of what is right. The daily life of African Americans before being allowed to vote were inhumane as well as the steps it took to break away from that barrier, but it little by little changed once that movement took place.
Another well known activist is Susan B. Anthony who was one of the major faces of the first national woman’s suffrage movement. This movement allowed women to have the choice if they wanted to be educated and strong enough to go and vote. Some of the same struggles in the cases of African Americans voting, creating a system that allowed women to vote was extremely difficult.
Women were not to far from being considered property of the men in their lives. It would a challenge allowed women to vote if they aren’t considered free thinkers. Now there is a need for more younger citizens to go out and vote so that the laws and people of power can reflect what they believe which is different with every generation. All citizens need to understand the importance of why voting is so important. Also understand the reason why throughout our history why all different kinds of citizens found it as a necessity to vote during elections.
Many people do not truly understand the amount of challenges that African American people had to face to get to being able to vote as well as not being discriminated against whilst trying to vote. There have been many cases, even after the law that allowed African Americans to vote, where there has be a difficulty for African American people to attempt to vote. Even this latest elections people still speculate that there is discrimination on African American voters and the challenges and inconvenience that they have to go through in order to vote.
What we must understand about this is that many African Americans that wanted to vote yet the people that were running the voting booth and the people in higher political positions created difficult tasks that almost no one would be able to accomplish and targeted people of color. American citizens must understand the conditions that were being thrown at African Americans who were trying to go to the voting booths. All of these prejudices whether it being either harm, a lack of acknowledgement, or discrimination.
The steps that that helped the leap for change is an incredibly important part of where we are at today. If it was not for the social and political spark of the movement that allowed everyone to finally get up and deal with the unjust actions being thrown at people of color. Then, we would still most likely be having to deal with more of these racially charged issue to this day then we already do. Many people would have to worry about the current system and laws being enforced considering it will most likely not be for African Americans benefit. If African Americans didn’t have the right to vote a majority of the laws would be created against the benefit of African Americans. If this movement didn’t occur then we would not be as forward thinking as we are today as a society when it comes to ethnicity.
That would cause a lot of fear from the African American community, Which would cause many American to miss out on gaining knowledge that only for the most part educated men of color would have and would hinder us as a whole society from benefiting no matter the ethnicity. Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 conditions and treatment of the African American community were either completely neglected on there needs or systematically taken advantage of for a profit of some sort. African Americans couldn’t change the system because they weren’t allowed a voice to speak on it which voting allows people to have. At this time there was Jim Crow Laws, gerrymandering which is manipulating to benefit a certain group, and also unrealistic testing being given by voting booths to African Americans.
In the Historical film SELMA by Ava Duvernay, the first opening scene is of a African American women attempting to register to vote but as she goes up to turn her registration form in she is bombarded with questions that would be difficult for most Americans to answer at the top of their heads. For example “How many county judges in Alabama?” She was also told to name those said county judges which she could not, then because of that she was denied her right register to vote. When she was asked these questions she was asked consecutively until she was given a question she could not answer. She was also threatened before the start of the questioning to attempt to scare her away, which did not work. The fact that at the time white people would go to that great of a length just so that the majority of African American do not vote is must cause one to show the power that voting actually has on society. In this film and in the past People of color were being threatened not to go and even register to vote. This is just a example of how they were treated when registering imagine how much more it would be corrupt if they were already registered and were actually going to vote.
It is thought that since there is no visible systematic racism that is being shown to the public that people of different backgrounds specifically African Americans are being created fairly than that of their white counterparts in this society but a article by The New York Times states that, “Catherine E. Lhamon, called the present state of discrimination against minority voters “enduring and pernicious,” and said it was poorly addressed under federal law.” because of the fact that there is still discrimination when it comes to voting rights of the African American citizens. When it was decided to make a vote for the situation at hand it is stated that, “The panel’s six Democratic members all approved the recommendations, but that its two Republican members either did not attend the session at which the vote was taken or left the room during the vote.” Republicans have a history of being predominantly white and close minded to change in the country and want to stick with values that benefit a certain group of citizens which could be described by some as the “straight rich Christian white men” ideals. While democrats are more diverse in the people that follow the ideals that democrats have which could be much more progressive to the minorities including that of African Americans.
Another group that has had to fight for their rights to vote in America is women. It was called The Women’s Suffrage Movement. History stated in a article that, “The campaign for women’s suffrage began in earnest in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 30s”. At that time women were trying to break out of the ideals that were in the “Cult of True womanhood” that played strict rules that women had to follow so that they would be able to call themselves a true woman that is benefiting the society that wanted they to act as obedient wives and mothers. In schools they were taught little education and couldn’t go to university. A large portion of their education was the “Cult of True Womanhood” handbook. They wanted to break out of the cycle of only being allowed to be mothers. They used tactics that would help people understand why they would need the right to vote as well as there education that goes with it. Women day in and day out were only allowed
In 1920, women finally got the right to vote after years of fighting for it. The most well known woman-suffrage advocates were Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, believed they needed to push lawmakers for truly universal suffrage. National Geographics Stated, “On November 5, 1872, American civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony voted in a presidential election. (She voted for the incumbent, Republican Ulysses S. Grant.) At that time, women were not allowed to vote. Two weeks later, Anthony was arrested, and eventually fined $100 for voting illegally. “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty,” she said—and she never did”. This shows you how strong she felt during her time Which happened though this only gave the vote for white woman this deffinity paved the way for change because this showed that the laws can be changed and there were hope for more minority groups to push for their voices as well and also have the suffragettes on there side to help. The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right.
After they had won the right to vote they didn’t stop there. Women after getting the right to vote chose to use it to benefit and make society more accommodating to them as well like allowing them to get higher education and more opportunities to get jobs. Though women are still fighting for their rights today with the “pink tax” and other gender charged problems. Women are using their voting right to change what is happening around them and forcing people of power to adhere to the needs they are asking for. Without the right to vote women would be as present in the workforce and wouldn’t be excelling as much as they are education wise. There are more women graduating at a higher rate in college than that of the males. This shows that they are doing everything in there power to use all of the resources that they have to better there futures and the futures of the people around them. With that in mind women knew the only way for them to come as far as they have they needed to practice there right to vote. Now with the “Me Too” movement more women are challenging political leaders to look at the problem at hand and find a solution for it.
It is a common ageist stereotype that teens and young adults have a indifference to almost everything and that including politics. Some would say that they don’t have the mental capacity to understand what is going on around them and wouldn’t be able to make a wise decision politically but that doesn’t explain the large rise in young millennial voters these past elections. According to NPR, “Millennials are now as large of a political force as Baby Boomers according to an analysis of U.S. census data from the Pew Research Center, which defines millennials as people between the ages of 18-35. Both generations are roughly 31 percent of the overall electorate.” It is a well known fact that the baby boomers have dominated thus far but now that they are almost equally getting watched by millenials shows that we see what is happening to the country and we don’t have the luxury to be indifferent like the teenage generations before us.
We see the mass shootings with our own eyes. We see the way our president is portraying us and America as fools to each other and the countries around us and we are tired of it so we decided that change needed to happen that is why more young people are speaking and rallying like “Little Miss Flint” that just wants clean water for the people in Flint, Michigan and like the Floride students that have spoke and rallied after the Florida school shooting where they saw their peers shot right before their eyes. They want social reform and more gun restriction laws to happen so that something like that doesn’t happen again. Young people are not joining politics because it is the new trend and everyone is talking about it just because. The reason is they are seeing what is happening in America. The younger generation is the most diverse generation also which means each millennial has there own cause they are fighting for as well as helping the millenials with other causes. If you are pro black lives matter there is a change you also against the palestinian genocide and if you are pro-gun restriction there is a higher change you are also anti-immigration deportation.
Now because of social media it is more easier to talk to people that have the same beliefs as you politically and learn more from people that the laws are directly affecting. Also many celebrities are voting and going public with it on social media to convince young citizens to vote in the elections and it is working. There are even articles by ELLE called “The Best Celebrity Voting Selfies From the Polls Today” which show just how many celebrities and social icons are showing their audience that they are voting. Also Social media influencers like Liza Koshy who has 16,321,189 subscribers on youtube avidly prompts young people to go out and vote. She even did a interview with the former president of the United States, Barack Obama to urge younger people to vote in the elections.
Through social media is a good platform to connect people with causes that they show mutual agreement with it also can be used negatively like the case in the 2016 election where NPR states, “Facebook is in the spotlight for its role in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook has said it would turn over all of its Russian-sponsored ads to Congress.” This means that the social media website Facebook may have caused the 2016 election to be swayed a certain way with ads promoting a certain side. Facebook also has a much older audience so a majority of the users are of voting age and can be easily swayed with “fake news” as some would call it.
There are many American citizens that make a conscious decision not to vote for whatever reasons they have. According to the Nonprofit Vote voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest it has ever been since World War II, with only 36.6 percent of the Americans able to vote went out and casted their ballots. One of the main reasons people chose not to vote is the idea that there singular vote won’t cause a difference in the overall system on deciding who will get the position of power. That might not have been the cast recently. According to the 2000 Presidential Popular Vote Summary, “only 54.2 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot. The result was almost a tie.”
Bush won by few votes even though the running copeditor, Al Gore, had the majority vote. If those people that had said that their vote doesn’t matter so what’s the vote had actually voted Al Gore would have had a higher chance of winning and we wouldn’t had had Bush’s debatably bad presidency. Also most elections are never won by landslides a majority of the time they are fairly close so every vote really does matter. Also there are more excuses like they’re too busy, the voting lines can be hours long, registration requirements can be confusing, voters can be apathetic, people don’t like the candidates, or they cannot get to the polls. In some situations, there is voter intimidation.
People have fought long and hard for the opportunity to vote, even losing their lives like the people I have mentioned Susan B. Anthony had been held in prison and chastised because of the believes that she had in wanting her and all women’s right to vote and Dr. MArtin Luther King was shot for the strong views that he had for the rights of the African American community. It is common knowledge that every American citizen has the right to vote for whomever they please. People died for them to have that right to have a say in what will happen to the society that they live in and the world that they see fit to help not just themselves but the future generations. There are many people that refuse to vote but still complain about the state that the government and society is in. There is only one word to describe a person that does that and it is that those people are hypocrites. You have to earn your right to complain by trying to do you part to change it first.