Fall 2016: "Why Bother to Vote?" Literary Gems

We received many outstanding essays for the Fall 2016 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.

YES! Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare. 

“The point that voters aren’t informed enough or haven’t chosen yet is no excuse in the age of Instagram.”
—Carl Gallagher, grade 11, Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning Schools, New York, N.Y.

“For example, due to the fact that I’m a practicing Muslim, I would in general vote Republican because their traditional values align with my religious values. However, I understand that those values infringe on other people’s freedom of choice, specifically women and the LGBT community. Therefore, I would vote Democrat, not for myself, but so I can protect the rights of my fellow citizens. I do this because I believe as fellow citizens we have a responsibility towards each other, and the fact that we are of the same country unites us.”
—Najma Omar, grade 11, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.


“How ironic it is that while other countries sacrifice and fight for a chance at even a sliver of democracy, we have to be persuaded to participate in ours.” 
—Paige Scott, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio


“He is just a crude billionaire who is not afraid to throw out ostentatious comments about his corporatized competition Hillary Clinton.” 
—Covani Laranang, grade 8, Commodore Options School, Odyssey Multiage Program, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

“A candidate could have more popular votes, but if his or her opponent has all the Electoral votes, they’re tough outta luck. It’s the way this system works; it’s a game to trick you into thinking that we are truly democratic."
—Leala Pourier, grade 10, Jeffco Open School, Thornton, Colo.


“By analogy, let’s say I am talking to my mom. “I can’t fall asleep—it’s too hot in here.” She asks, ‘Well, did you at least turn down the temperature?’ I respond, ‘No, I can’t be bothered to get up, walk to the hall, and turn the thermostat down.’ She asks, ‘Well did you at least put the fan on in your room?’ I respond, ‘No, I can’t be bothered to pick up the remote and press a button.’ She would justifiably respond, ‘If you can’t be bothered to put in this minimal effort, then you shouldn’t complain.’ Voting is similar. If you can’t be bothered to fill out a registration form and drive to a polling station, then you shouldn’t be unhappy when your preferred candidate doesn’t get elected.” 
—Ava Geller, grade 6, Arbor Montessori, Atlanta, Ga.


“Some people feel that voting is pointless and that their ideas will never be heard by anyone in power. They have the mentality of a drop of water trying to make a difference in an ocean of opinions. However they do not realize that drops of water cause ripples, ripples of water cause waves, strong waves cause high tides, and then those high tides cause a glorious flood of revolutionary events.”
—Sebastieon Semper, grade 10, Eagle Academy, New York, N.Y.

“...it’s already hard enough being a lower-class citizen, and especially on top of that a minority, immigrant of whatever classification you may be. We have to turn back that weakness into strength into our voices and vocalize that into government because at this point it’s not an option anymore, it’s an obligation for yourself and others may or may not be going through the same predicaments as you.”
—Dante Jones, Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas


"I’m not supporting the Cardinals or the Indians during baseball season just because I think they’re going to win; I’m going to support my team. In the same way, I refuse to vote for ‘the lesser of two evils’ I want to have unfailing certainty that my candidate will represent all of me, not a small piece of me."
—Evelyn Opper, grade 11, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.

“Write-in votes can allow you to protest certain aspects of the candidates by entering a fictitious character. For instance, if someone were put off by the greed of the candidates, they might write-in Smaug, the evil dragon from The Hobbit by Tolkien. Some simply write-in humorous candidates, such as Vladimir Putin, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Darth Nader, Aristotle, Me, Oprah, They Both Suck, Lizard People, and Twice Cooked Pork $4.95.”
—Lyra Cromwell, grade 8, Commodore Options School, Odyssey Multiage Program, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

"Most people these days either see politics through the media, or know nothing at all about it. So, next time, instead of voting for the senator with the coolest hair, or a politician who promises change, Ask yourself this: Should we have the host of a reality TV show as our president?"
—Ryan A, Connors, grade 8, GEMS Nations Academy, Dubai U.A.E.

“Voting is like eating a candy bar. It’s sweet. It’s satisfying. It’s special. And we shouldn’t throw it away.” 
—Will Drury, grade 11, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.

“Day after day we all watch the news only to find out what negative things Donald Trump has to say about Hillary Clinton, or vise versa. It has become so prevalent lately that there are more people who know they want to move to Canada than know who to vote for in November.”
—Ben Pikus, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

“Knowledge and critical thinking are powerful tools. Voting is personal. It gives a voice to what people believe. If it wasn’t important they wouldn’t be trying to take your vote away.”
—Jessica Garza, Tarrant County College, Fort Worth, Texas


"America needs to wake up. It’s time for us to think for ourselves. Set an example you wish others to follow. Listen to others but don’t let them influence you to a point where their words are coming out of your mouth."
—Cedar Price, grade 8, Commodore Options School, Odyssey Multiage Program, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

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