By Aurora Saldivar, Coachella Unincorporated
As November 6 draws closer, the campaign season is beginning to pick up the pace. Debates are intensifying and campaign signs are multiplying on street corners. There is a sense of urgent enthusiasm, and you would have to go well out of your way to not be drawn into this election.
As a young woman about to cast my first Presidential vote, I could not be more fired up. I have spent the past two months on a fully charged political whirlwind, jumpstarted by my opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September. Nothing could have been more influential than this first-hand experience, getting up close and personal with those who say they want to move our country forward.
I returned from Charlotte with such energy and passion that I refused to let fade away. I could not have had a better initiation into political awareness; now that I am of age to vote, I feel an obligation take a proactive stance.
Dr. Raul Ruiz, a local Congressional candidate, said to me recently: “I say (voting) is the greatest expression of our democracy, the greatest expression of our ability to ensure that we are the captains of our destiny and the architects of our lives. (I would tell young people) that every vote matters, no matter where you come from, no matter which school you go to, no matter if you are affluent or indigent, that every vote equals one vote. It is our social responsibility to not only vote, but to make sure our friends and family who can vote make it out to the polls.”
Ruiz grew up a few short miles from my home, went off to UCLA and then Harvard Medical School, and returned to the Coachella Valley as a doctor. His campaign has inspired me to volunteer and get involved. I have been able to cover multiple campaign events for Coachella Unincorporated, and even had the opportunity to be present for the debate between Ruiz and Mary Bono Mack, the longtime Republican incumbent.
Our country seems to have been plagued with disillusionment, especially those in my generation. It is frustrating to hear my generation written off as dismissive and disengaged, when we should be the ones leading the charge for change. Current media and the Occupy movement voiced the disconnection between government and the people. But the only way to bridge that gap is to make our voices heard through our vote. This is the only way to state our priorities and opinions.
In the face of political gridlock and a drowning economy, our nation hangs in a state of fragility as we head toward election day. The only way to make a difference is to go out and vote. I have become increasingly more concerned with who else rather than how else.
Because who knows, better than you, which health care plan will benefit your families and which tax plan will best serve the small businesses of your community? Who else can stand up for your priorities, if not you?
I especially urge my peers to take an active role in the shaping of our future and to take advantage of this hard-fought right.
Voting is a gift and privilege that many are not afforded.
The deadline to register to vote is October 22. Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by.
You can register to vote at the following websites: