OPINION: Too young to vote? Pick up the phone
“Hello, my name is Samara and I’m calling on behalf of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.”
With the election and what may be our country’s impending doom looming on the horizon, it is nearly impossible to avoid emotions of helplessness or anger, especially for me. I am a political devotee, treating presidential elections like the Super Bowl and refusing to miss a single town hall or debate. I am probably, embarrassingly so, one of the few Americans who sat through about five hours each day of Amy Connie Barrett’s confirmation hearings.
Despite all my interest and beliefs, it’s difficult sitting through an election, especially one as critical as this one, while being unable to vote. One of the most important ways a person can make their voice and opinion heard within our country is by casting their ballot, but, at only 16, I’m not yet legally eligible. The agonizing emotions of sitting around in an election decided by a narrow margin of votes and states led me to volunteer to phone bank.
The experience has been both exactly like and incredibly different from my expectations. I’ve sat through far too many angry calls, been yelled at by people three to four times my senior and have been cursed out a fair amount, but I’ve also spoken with some amazing people from across the country. One of my favorite calls was with an older woman from Arizona, who told me how important voting is and how she used to fight for women’s rights when she was younger. I realized that callers from the south and south west were often far nicer than their northern counterparts in Pennsylvania, and heard political views from an incredibly diverse group of people.
Phone banking made me angry and happy, but most of all, it allowed me to contribute to the presidential election, without having to vote.