Your Vote Still Counts

By Victoria Robertson on November 13, 2016

In the words of our new President elect, “Wrong.”

But all jokes aside, this is an issue that I want to talk about for a variety of reasons, one of the more important being the current state of our country.

We’re a little bit of a mess, in case you haven’t noticed.

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Like most elections, this one has divided us. Unlike most elections, this one has divided us in a seemingly irreparable way. For most, this is no longer an opinion-based division, but a hateful, pointed division pitting the two sides against one another.

A large reason we feel this way is because of the candidates we had to choose from. For months, we’ve been explaining this election as a lose-lose. The lesser of two evils. A complete mess.

On the one hand, we have everything wrong with our political system. On the other hand, we have everything wrong with our society.

So to feel unsure of the future is a pretty normal feeling, and while we’re feeling an amplified version of this feeling in comparison to our past elections, it’s completely expected given the circumstances.

That being said, we need to stop, as a group, acting like the world is about to end. He hasn’t even taken office yet, and won’t for a while longer. For the time being, we are still under the Obama administration.

As a society, we have always accepted the outcome of our democratic system. We have always respected our elections. Respected our system. No matter how angry we are, we have to trust in the system that has gotten us to where we are today.

Which brings me to my main point: your vote still counts.

Following this past election, raw emotions are a very real thing. For everyone. So it’s easy to feel discouraged and defeated, especially if your vote went to Hillary Clinton, as a majority of the popular vote did.

Donald Trump won the presidency based on our system. Yes. This doesn’t mean that our system doesn’t work, or that your vote doesn’t count.

How do I explain this in the most simple of terms?

If nobody had voted for Donald Trump, he wouldn’t be our president. So just by casting a vote, you matter.

To put it another way, every individual that voted for a third party candidate, that didn’t vote, that left the presidential candidate blank — this is a conscious decision, and this is a vote. Whether you mean to or not, you have cast a vote.

There was a time where not everyone in our country could vote, so to simply not do so is hard for people to accept, and they’re correct in feeling this way. Voting is a right we need to exercise. These elections come once every four years, and you can even vote from the comfort of your own home with mail-in ballots. So there aren’t any excuses.

The reality is: we picked these candidates in the primaries. We picked them. We pitted them against one another. One of them won. That’s on us, as a country. Voting matters.

Democrat or Republican, your vote landed us these two candidates. Your absent vote landed us these two candidates. Either way, you made a decision that brought on these results.

Our country is strong. The issues ahead of us are not new by any means. They’ve been around for a while. Racism and sexism are not new to us — we continue to battle such issues today.

And I want to emphasize the fact that just because our President elect is controversial, and just because many of us are afraid of what he’s going to do, doesn’t mean he’s going to do anything.

Being fearful isn’t wrong, but condemning him before he’s made a single Presidential decision is extreme. He’s said and done terrible things. Most politicians have.

If we protested everything that any politician has ever said, we’d have no one left to run our country.

That being said, it’s also important that you stand up for yourself in times like this. Don’t settle for sexism. Don’t settle for racism. Should these issues present themselves during his Presidency, fight them. You won’t be alone.

But don’t preemptively check out. He’s still our President, whether a majority of us wanted that or not. Why would we want our country to fail? We wouldn’t. So we certainly don’t want our President to fail.

It’s hard to imagine, but at this point, the most important thing that we can do, as a nation, is stand behind our President, even if we haven’t voted for him.

No more, “he’s not my president” rants. He is.

That’s democracy.

Everyone that was willing to condemn him when he stated he wouldn’t respect the outcome of the election is hypocritical in saying the same now.

This was a little bit of a rant, but I want to let you know that this isn’t the end of our country. Rather than letting this election pull us apart, allow it to bring you closer to those you love. Show them what it means to live in a democratic society.

And don’t let a bad outcome deter you from a system that’s worked time and time again.

In four years, you’ll have the chance to vote once again. And I hope you do.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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