I was always very excited about turning 18 years old for many reasons. The first one is obviously the “entrance into adulthood.” The second reason for me was voting, even though when I turned 18 there were no elections happening. This year I will be able to vote. To me, it has always been a very important part of being American, and I feel that each vote does make a difference. In my family, my mom recently got her citizenship so she has not been able to vote for the last few elections. But she will probably come with me to vote this year. My father has never really cared, so I don’t think he will be coming with me ever to vote for anyone. In a way, that is the typical response I get from people who live around me when I ask them if they are planning on voting for the elections. Many Armenians believe that it does not matter if we vote and that we shouldn’t even care what is going on in American politics.
This way of thinking always frustrated me because we live in America. We cannot just ignore what goes on in a country that we live in. I participated in Hye Votes last Sunday, which was a way of getting Armenians involved in voting for elections. I had many responses from people, but the one that I cannot forget was of this woman who was probably in her 30s. We asked if she was registered to vote and she said she was not. We then asked if she would want to register to vote and she replied, “No, I don’t care for things like that.” In a way, I understand that she does not want to get involved, but I also feel that because people have this theory that ‘it does not matter,’ they can get away with not voting.
Coming from Armenia, a country that has democracy to an extent, I have learned that America gives people many opportunities to participate in ‘civic engagement.’ I think that we should all be open to that and use that for our own benefit. Our best way is to learn about the country we chose to come and live in. We have to be able to get nominated officials to help the Armenian Cause. Turkey has to pay people for them to try to stop America from making the Armenian Genocide official. If more Armenians were politically involved and researched about candidates, we could get a lot more across. A cause is nothing without followers, and no cause will have achievements from government without followers.