Written by Timothy Rossner. Follow him at @rossnert1990.
During my childhood, it was frowned upon to talk about politics at the dinner table.
Though, in all seriousness, this was okay with me at the time because I was more concerned about my math and science classes. History and world politics just didn’t interest me. I wanted to be an astronaut—Socrates and the Fertile Crescent be damned! Flying in space, gathering specimens from new planets, and adventuring into the unknown—now THAT was my jam.
Fast forward to high school, and not much changed in my attitude, despite the historic 2008 election. I was still more focused on math and science as that was my intended major in college. Thus, I did not take the liberty to express my opinion. Instead, I passively sat on the bench and let the election pass by me, much to the annoyance of some of my classmates who wanted my privilege of voting.
The big shift in my political behavior happened in college because I became educated. I went to college and realized that I am a smart individual, with a distinct political voice. I learned to manage my time well to save up for college—I worked through my undergrad to pay for tuition, while being a full-time student, and am now enrolled in a full-time Doctorate program while again, working full-time. I am a hard, working American citizen. I know what it’s like to be at the bottom of the tax bracket, middle tax bracket, and hopefully near the top of the tax bracket eventually. With so much experience under my belt, why would I not vote?
I started by asking myself "why?" Being a driven individual, why am I not expressing my voice? Why am I letting other people voice their opinions without letting my own be heard? I have done too much in my life to just let this opportunity for my opinion to matter pass. I am no longer on the sideline. In fact, I was standing on the sideline ready to play the whole time. I just didn’t realize how much potential my opinion had until I got off the bench. I took an hour away from my sleep and stayed up to educate myself about the 2012 election. Voila! I am an educated voter now. Piece of cake! It was that easy. Now don’t let the inspiration get out of hand. Use unbiased sources for your information and use multiple sources.
Like many of you out there, I work a lot. I work because I like what I do, but I also work to make money. With that money, I pay for food, I pay for shelter, and I pay to have fun. What do you do with your money? Do you donate your money? And do you want your money to benefit the welfare of others? If so, great! If not, great! By becoming an active participant, you have the power to make that decision yourself. Put the person in power who you believe in. Otherwise, you are just sitting on the sideline warming up the bench. If you are not here to play, then I don’t know how proudly you can say you are a member of the team. I am proud to say that as an Asian American Millennial, I have the power to have a say on who leads me. Get out of that sideline and join the rest of your teammates on the court and embrace the power of your voice!