This year was the first year I could vote, and I did. I’ve never been the person that openly debates issues and honestly, I didn’t understand the world around me politically. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it is important, but most things had no direct effect on my adolescent life. This past year, and well, the last two years with our new president, I began to slightly feel the impact of our government on my own life.
I am a Mexican American who is saddened by our President’s banter and ideas concerning Mexicans and Mexico. When someone like myself who has never run into a personal issue politically hears the President saying people like my sweet grandmother aren’t welcome, I suddenly run into a problem. This issue is just one of the things that caused me to want to make a change.
Another issue that confirmed my want to vote was the Oklahoma teacher strike. My dad is a Spanish teacher at Norman High school and has been for almost 20 years. Him and the rest of my wonderful, well qualified teachers deserve better pay to support their families but not just that. They deserve better pay because they are leading the future and devote their lives to it. Knowing that my dad works for the state that ranks last in funding sickened me. Teachers organized well for the most part and created awareness throughout the nation. The Oklahoma Teachers United Facebook page kept thousands of community members informed and continues to do so. I cried with my english teacher, attended the marches at the capitol, and waited patiently for November.
I am so grateful that I have the right to vote in this country. Although I could not vote in the previous presidential election, I did vote in our state election November 6th, 2018. Standing in line at 7am in the cold never felt so empowering. There was more voter participation in this Oklahoma election than any other. Despite growing division in the state and in the country, there was such a strong sense of unity at the polls. Voting for the first time was a very positive experience and taught me how important it is for my generation to be aware of what is going on locally, nationally and globally.