Watching the presidential election can bring up a mix of emotions. Those emotions can be even more complicated when you can’t vote. YR Media’s Etta Washburn has this Perspective.
Every four years, my family and friends get together to watch an important televised competition. Only, we’re not watching the Olympics or the World Cup. Instead, we’re watching the presidential election night returns.
The first of these parties that I can clearly remember was President Obama’s re-election in 2012. I was nine years old and I didn’t quite understand what was happening but seeing people drink and celebrate showed me it was something good.
That feeling changed in 2016. At this point, I was older and had a better understanding of what exactly was at stake. That night, the viewing party didn’t feel like a party; it felt like a funeral. People went home early. My mother sat in the kitchen crying. No one could quite believe what had happened.
Watching those results solidified the importance of voting to me. Since then, I’ve practically counted down the days until the next election. I’ve stayed up-to-date with electoral events and watched the debates. I’ve paid particular attention to where candidates stand on gun control and their environmental policies, as well as how they respond to questions about police brutality and mass incarceration. There’s just one problem: I’m too young to vote. I don’t turn 18 until January 2021, two months after the election.