NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

I recently worked this last election as a commissioner, a job I’ve done for quite some time now. It basically involves me making sure that the process of democracy is performed correctly, and that everyone who wanted to vote gets a chance to. It’s not a hard job, but it does always give me a sense of perspective.

While there, I got a good sense of who votes most of the time, and since I’ve been doing it so long, whether these people regularly vote, even for small-time elections. What this showed me is that the majority of people who vote are elderly, at least above 60 years old. At first, this was strange to me. I thought that for individuals near the end of their life, they would care less about the state of things politically.

Then I gave it some serious thought. I came to the conclusion that these individuals are voting, despite possibly not even being affected by it, because they believe a certain way. They are alive and believe a certain thing. So it doesn’t matter how old they are, or whether this will affect them; they have inherent value for meeting those two prerequisites.

What’s to appreciate in that? The idea that people have a voice. In the midst of worldwide chaos, with the Kurds and Hong Kong, it’s important to remember how pivotal it is that we have a voice.

I had this conversation with a friend of mine, who’s a self-prescribed socialist. I had explained that the idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was revolutionary.

He had said that everyone has those rights, the government just takes them and doles it out at will. I disagree. That inherently is an American perspective. Growing up in America makes you feel like you have those things innately because you Here in America, your voice is heard. Here in America, with all our faults, there is the possibility of changing something with our voice.

There’s the possibility of representing ourselves with leaders, and deciding on our laws. We as a people have a scarred history, but a beautiful democracy. Some say patriotism is wrong; I don’t believe that. I believe one should take pride in their country, but also be critical of it. Be critical because the people are the only thing that can change it.

So what does this have to do with the gubernatorial election? It has everything to do with it. This is your chance, this is your time to change things. To make a difference, to have things be as you believe. Whether your beliefs are right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. You have a voice. You have a life. You have the ability to change the fate of your family.

Take this opportunity, and like your elders, make a change based on your beliefs and your life. It’s not just your privilege, but your obligation. Have a good week and go vote!

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