This weekend I went to a Bernie Sanders campaign event.
After I revived my conservative family from their heart attacks, I had a thought: in the United States, we all have the unique opportunity to become involved in our political climate. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, attending campaign events and town halls is an important part of participating in our democracy.
Going to a campaign event doesn’t mean you have to chant their name and flail a sign in the air, but it does mean you have the opportunity to hear them speak on issues you care about and even ask them questions.
In the 2016 election, before I was even old enough to cast a vote, I attended the campaign events of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and several others. Going to these events got me excited in the political process.
On top of the excitement of getting to hear influential leaders speak right in front of you, attending campaign events educates you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to what your followers on social media have to say about political issues, only reinforcing what you already believe. However, listening to those who actually have a say in making policy in our country will make you a more educated voter and a better advocate for what you believe.
Here in Vermillion, you have an advantage. Since Iowa is a swing state –meaning it’s hard to predict whether the electoral votes will go to the Democratic or Republican candidate – presidential candidates frequent the area. Just this past week, Iowa has seen several, including Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders.
Maybe you have the privilege of not having to care about politics. But the truth is, politics affect our lives and have real impacts on certain populations in our country. So get out there, get educated and if you get lucky, you might even get a selfie with the future POTUS.