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Davis, California

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Cap and Gown List

Partisanship aside, our generation made history this election. I dont care if youre Democrat, Republican, Green, Peace and Freedom, or as indecisive as I am when my friends and I are trying to decide where to go for dinner … Generation Y: we did good!

 

I was consistently impressed with the level of political awareness among my friends this election. We had discussions, heated debates, and were literally counting down to the coverage starting. I may have even watched a “West Wing episode or two with a few close friends to get pumped to glue our eyes to the television set (dont judge – it was awesome). It seems like the youth of today was alive and invigorated by playing a part in democracy.

 

Im not a political pundit. However, I am a voter between the ages of 18 and 24 and I think our age bracket should be giving ourselves a much-deserved pat on the back. This was a historical election for so many reasons, and our generation decided, on Nov. 4, it was time to show up!

 

Im not sure if our newfound participation was result of the fresh face of Barack Obama, his wife, and his adorable daughters breathing youth back into the presidency, or if the economy taking a downturn forced us to realize that tomorrows need to be important to those with (hopefully) the most tomorrows left; perhaps it was as simple as the shift to Internet campaigning and candidates trying to get their messages out through YouTube instead of leaflets.

 

Irrespective of the reason, this is the first presidential election anyone under the age of 22 has been able to vote in, and what a way to start! Election 2008 saw record numbers of voters across age brackets, the first African American major party candidate, the second woman ever on a major party ticket, and one of the biggest popular vote wins in the last century.

 

At a four-year university, you cant graduate without seeing a presidential election race unfold around you. How very American it is that you cant get through an average college education without watching the most basic political practice all around you.

 

I was ecstatic to be able to finally vote in an election, and the fact that this was my first made it all the more exciting. Voting for president is thrilling, and Im proud to say I voted in an election that made history. Were breaking barriers lately and it only continues from here. Now that were introducing characteristics of candidates we havent seen before, youth voting numbers are up across the board, and we can get up-to-the-second information about anything online, the future is limitless.

 

Voting in an election is exciting and monumental; its a way to make your voice heard, and no matter your party connections it is the most fundamental right you have as a citizen of a democratic society. Voting is also, in my opinion, the only legitimate way to obtain complaining rights once an election is over. Voting for the candidate who wins is fun and definitely makes the day after good no matter whats on your schedule. But, if you exercise your right to vote and the country doesnt agree with you, I expect a certain amount of bitterness (and possibly a few choice expletives). However, if you dont vote, I aint listening. VOTE: Its an unalienable right you have as a citizen of this country, and, more importantly, its the only way to feel like you have at least a part in your own political destiny.

 

As for me, now I wait with pride and eager anticipation to see what this new regime will bring. Who knows what Obama can accomplish over the next four years? He has a Harvard Law School, brilliant wife by his side, a Chief-of-Staff rumored to be the model for a “West Wing character (which is nerd moment the most exciting thing Ive heard in a long time), a Democratic House and Senate, and the first family is getting a puppy (heres hoping that doggie doesnt bite a White House reporter too). I dont know about you, but Inauguration Day already has me pumped, three months in advance.

 

EMILY KAPLAN thinks she may need to write a crazy fan letter to Aaron Sorkin. If you want to be Aarons new best friend too or just want to discuss his fabulousness, e-mail her at eckaplan@ucdavis.edu.

 

 

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