Speak Up, Stand Up and Don’t Give Up!

Greta - Madison, Wisconsin
Entered on November 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: freedom

Every year around the same time each year, I ask my mother the same question: “How come you never buy political signs.” Or “Why don’t you ever fill out surveys when telemarketers call?” and every year, around the same time each year, my mom replies, “I don’t know.” And after that, I would drop the subject. But this year, I was determined to get something more than just an “I don’t know.”

As I climbed into my gray-blue van, I looked at my neighbor’s house and their ‘Obama 08’ sign painted in navy blue on their salmon colored house. I asked my mom, “How come we never participate in election stuff. We never post signs, or place bumper stickers on our van or anything like that?” my mom replies, “I really don’t know.” This answer left me again, unsatisfied. So as my mom put her key in the ignition and asks me if I remembered my piano books, I ask her another question, “Every four years, we never ever buy a sign. Why? Don’t give me another ‘I don’t know.’” My mother sighs as we pull up to a red light. “I guess I always just thought that politics were a private subject.” Even though my mother finally answered the question that I had been waiting to hear almost my entire life left me furious. How could you believe that a subject so important to the world is meant to be private? Sure we all have our different opinions, but that is what is so great about sharing your political views! Politics are meant to be spoken about otherwise politicians wouldn’t host rallies and political gatherings or even debates. If you are a citizen, you have the right to voice your political opinion. In fact, as a citizen, it is almost mandatory to voice your opinion. You are almost required because your opinion and your vote will have an impact on what happens to America. If you don’t vote, you are essentially saying that you don’t give a crap to what happens with the economy, people’s choice, people’s lives, and the way they live.

When my mother answered my question, I realized how important the matter of speaking up about your political views. That night at swim team, I sat on the bleachers with my friends. We started talking about the intensity of a black man running for president. Soon after, the conversation started to change to who we would vote for, if we could vote. I asked my friend who he would vote for. His response: “I don’t know. I guess McCain because my parents and grandparents are voting for him.” I was sickened. “Wait, you are saying that you don’t really know who you would vote for?” “Umm… yeah I guess.” Was his response. How could he not know who he was voting for? Yeah I guess I was disappointed in whom he would vote for, but just the fact that he only made his decision based on his relatives is annoying.

A few days later, we started talking about the, “This I believe” essay’s. In my teachers demo essay, he quoted a common saying that I thought fit this essay and my opinions perfectly. The quote was, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” How perfect? People need to have an opinion about what they are saying, and they need to have a belief to what they are saying. People, especially teens, need to adjust to disagreeing politically with family and friends. If you have a belief in politics, you should voice it and mean it. This was the basis for my belief.

My belief was created when many friends and family told me that they had no idea whom they were voting for. I realized over the past few months, how important your opinion is. Even if you aren’t 18 and you can’t vote yet, you can influence other people around you. If you can vote, you can make a difference. Speak up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid if people you love disagree. Your opinion matters. This I believe: You should speak up about your political views and not be afraid of other’s disagreeing.