2020 election creates generational divide

Young people are speaking up for their beliefs even if it means challenging those that they care about the most

Alice Scott

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Dave Winter

During the McCallum curbside voter registration on Sept. 18, senior Jesse Rodriguez gets signed up with League of Women Voters volunteer Stephanie Land. Rodriguez, like many young voters, is excited to see what changes the election will bring for the country. “I really wanted to have the opportunity to have a say in what goes in our country,” Rodriguez. “It also feels empowering knowing that I could make a difference and possibly choose who the new president will be.”

Alice Scott, staff reporter

The 2020 presidential election is fast approaching. Both candidates represent polarizing issues that are dividing the country. But the division doesn’t stop there — for many, the election causes friction even at home.

Freshman Lanie Sepehri knows of this trend firsthand.

These are interesting times and interesting topics, and I think staying silent over things that you care about does nobody any good.”

— voter deputy registrar Stepanie Land

“My parents, and my dad specifically, is very into politics,” Sepehri said. “I’m hearing a lot about it at home and that’s kind of stressful for me because it’s just hard for me to say my opinions, not that my dad’s opinions are bad or anything, but it’s just that it’s been kind of intense at home.”

As young people begin to develop their own beliefs, they have learned to speak up about matters that are important to them. Even if that means challenging the opinions of people they care about.

For freshman Naomi Pearson that means standing up to her elders.

“I’ve emailed my grandpa who’s a Trump supporter a couple of times, because kids and just young people in general can bring a new side of things,” Pearson said. “I think as you get older you get more put into ‘This is how our system is; this is how our world works,’ and I think kids can step back and say, ‘Wait, this is not what I was taught democracy was in school.’” 

Although speaking their minds can lead to a house divided, voter deputy registrar Stephanie Land says it is a crucial step for a younger generation of citizens who are finding their voice.

“I would want young people to speak up for the things that matter to them,” Land said. “These are interesting times and interesting topics, and I think staying silent over things that you care about does nobody any good.”

Sepehri said that doing good for others is exactly what motivates her to care about the 2020 election.

“I feel like there are a lot of people’s rights at stake,” she said. “A lot of people’s lives could be changed by the outcome of this election, and I’m a very empathetic person, and I care a lot about other people and their problems and their issues, so it means a lot to me that their lives don’t get changed for the worse, and I think the election could change that depending on which way it goes.”

Land said that the impact of the election will be felt most keenly by young people.

“The decisions that have been made and will be made are going to affect your generation the tremendously,” Land said, “and I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to be able to have a say in how those decisions are made and who gets to make them and I would want young people to speak up for the things that matter to them and this at this stage is the best way you can do that, is by voting.” 

Elections provide a chance for citizens to articulate their opinions on issues they find important. Whether or not those voices can cast a ballot, they are still essential to the American people.