I still call her my little cousin even though she just turned 21. She’s a successful writer, very bright, with that cool-girl fashionista vibe (a trait that jumped over me in the gene pool). Every now and again, however, I still get to step into my big cousin shoes–just like I used to help her pull on her swimmies or insist she use another coloring book instead of pushing me off of my page.
So, of course, when she told me she wasn’t going to vote in the presidential primary because her one vote didn’t matter, I immediately stepped in.
But honestly, she’s not the only one. Young voter turnout rates are terrible. In the last presidential election, the census bureau data indicated that only about half of voters under between 18- made it to the polls—each person behind that absent fifty or so percent thinking that their one vote didn’t matter. As it turns out, many people are still caught up in that childhood mindset, the one that whispers in the back of your mind that you are still too small and insignificant to change the world.
That voice is wrong.
Sure, you are one voice airing your opinion into the twisted mechanism that is the electoral college. But those voices add up until they are a roar that leads to a decision that impacts the world we live in. Because as it turns out, voting isn’t about the individual, it’s really about working as a team to help make decisions that we feel are best for everyone.
In the long run, it’s important to remember the impact even a single voice can make. We remember individual voices that have big things to say. We flood auditoriums, stadiums, the national mall to hear the people speak their minds, people who we go on to quote for decades. Because, as I tried to instill in my cousin on our walk home that night, every opinion can make a difference.