Opinion: First -time voters had tough choice between Trump, Biden

I turned 18 in March 2019, and with that I was given the right to do things that I hadn’t been legally able to do before then, such as smoke tobacco products legally, join the military, and most importantly, vote. 

Being a precocious child meant that I took interest in things that other kids my age might not be as interested in such as politics. 

And through my research on the topic of politics, I found that voting felt…futile, that whoever was elected to live in the White House was only based on the vote of a select few ‘swing states’ (or the electoral college, as it’s called). 

I decided rather firmly that I wouldn’t waste my time by standing in long lines to vote for anyone unless I truly believed in what the candidate stood for. 

For many people, voting is often considered one of the most precious rights that we have in America. I also had to consider that many people in history have fought for and possibly died for the right to vote in America, and in many countries voting is not practiced or even legal. 

I wasn’t initially moved by the historical significance of voting, but as the chain of events that was the 2020 election grew closer, I began to reconsider my opinion, if only slightly. 

Initially, I wasn’t very impressed with the candidates I had to choose from. 

Although President Donald Trump, on the one hand, was very controversial (and often not very wise with his words and actions), there were some good things that came from his presidency. 

They included major tax reforms that helped the economy grow, criminal justice reforms that many previous presidents had talked about, but never accomplished, defeating ISIS which helped to make the world safer, and nominating and eventually obtaining confirmation of three Supreme Court justices and numerous lower court judge appointees. 

Then there was former Vice President Joe Biden, an establishment candidate, who promised to restore America’s reputation and leadership role in the world. 

Vice President Biden ran on his ability to curb the spread of and eventually defeat COVID-19 by being a positive example of wearing masks, social distancing, and he touted providing vaccinations for all. 

He also promised to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and invest in green energy, which would work to curb climate change.

I was initially steadfast in my decision to not vote, despite badgering from friends and family. 

My mother and her side of the family wanted me to go for Trump, even though they knew very clearly of my dislike of the man, but I also wasn’t very impressed with Biden either. 

Biden’s policies sounded nice, but he just seemed to me like another oily huckster, going about and begging for votes in the same vapid way that other politicians of his ilk do. But things began to change as I saw Trump continually blunder his way through the election, often making irresponsible choices whether it be with his actions or his words, or both. 

I was also continually frustrated and even horrified by what I saw as blind obedience from some of his followers. Trump’s destructive actions continually pushed me until I finally decided to give in and vote for Biden. 

My dad and I decided to go vote at a church that’s near our house, and it went quite smoothly. The line wasn’t very long, everyone was civil, and luckily there wasn’t any chaos from extremists or anyone else for that matter. 

In the end, I exercised my right to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election and I felt very patriotic as I wore the ‘I Voted’ sticker on my shirt as I left the polling place in November 2020.

It felt even better when I learned that Joe Biden won. 

I wouldn’t say that I was as thrilled as some of my friends were, but I was relieved to see that Biden had won out in the end and that democracy worked out in my favor. 

It showed me that voting could be useful in making your voice heard in political matters. 

To share some advice to others who are also reluctant to vote, I still hold that you should do it if you really believe in what the candidate stands for.

But, it can also be a true way that your voice can be heard in the political process.