The second first debate

The first time, I turned 13.

I was so excited that the debate fell on my birthday. It felt like it was planned just for me. Watching SNL clips with my brother, I waited for that day for weeks. To be honest, I was probably about as fired up for the debate as I was for my birthday itself.

I was excited a presidential election came when I finally was old enough to have a decent understanding of politics, and I was excited about Barack Obama.The last debate, I was 9 years old. So this time, I was finally seeing and really comprehending what it was like to watch the country come together and decide on a leader.

It’s really an incredible process, when you think about it. Over 300 million people in the U.S., and every four years, we all step back from the day-to-day happenings and think about the struggles of people we’ve never met to choose a president that we think will move us toward greatness.

But I’ve always watched these things with wonder — politics, sports, Shark Week. Anything that seems to bring the entire world together under one common experience ignites a certain spark. No wonder I want to be a reporter.

I remember waking up in my bed with my clothes from the day before still on. As I felt my Georgetown Hoyas shirt and jeans, I knew I had fallen asleep during the debate. Oh no! 11:00 p.m. is pretty late for a girl who was 12 years old just a day earlier, but I was still bummed I didn’t make it through. When I got up, I immediately asked my mom and dad what I missed, what issues they covered that I slept through.

Then I remembered we still had two more presidential debates, and I smiled.

I didn’t remember any of this until the second time.

This time, I turned 21. I was still looking forward to watching the debate, but not in the same way. Because the country’s not the same, and I’m not the same.

This will be my first time voting in a presidential election. I don’t just want to learn about the issues — I want to learn how to solve them. Like before, I am still working to develop a complete understanding of politics. But this time, my understanding of the issues matters. I am a part of the decision, not a spectator. I have the right to vote. My voice matters, and I cannot take that privilege lightly.

So why aren’t my legislators taking my right seriously?

Why can’t you tell me your plans to solve these problems? Why is ego so important that you have responses to counter personal insults, but nothing to say about racism, or other major issues? You tell me my vote matters, so why don’t you enable me with the facts I need to make an informed decision?

It makes me nostalgic for the bangs-and-braces days.

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