The 2018 VFW Post 5691 Voice of Democracy winners from Collinsville High School were recognized as part of the school’s annual Veterans Lunch on December 11, 2018.
The award certificates and monetary prizes were presented by VFW representative James Cann and his wife Cathy.
The theme of this year’s contest was “Why My Vote Matters.” Winners were:
1st Place Jalon Harris ($100)
2nd Place- Angela Ortiz ($50)
3rd Place- Zach Graffen ($25)
Why My Vote Matters by Jalon Harris
As American citizens, we have the privilege of deciding who gets to represent us and create, approve and govern the laws that affect us. This alone speaks volumes to how different we are in comparison to other countries. Many other nations are unaware of the meaning of allowing its citizens to speak on their own behalf and deciding on what is good for them, which is somewhat a foreign knowledge to us as Americans. We reside in our ability to choose and be heard by those who are above us. When we vote, we are not only allowing our voices and opinions to be acknowledged by governing bodies, but we are exercising a right that people who do not live in this country view as a benefit or advantage. Our votes matter, simply because not everyone has the same rights to voice their opinion so freely without fear that they will be ostracized by their society. Our democracy encourages us to speak our perspectives of what the nation should look like and what kind of people should be a representation of the ideal nation we all wish to see, and while we take this lightly, others can only dream of being able to vote and being heard.
Voting is our responsibility to ourselves, those who came before us and those who will follow us. As a nation, we face many trials and find ourselves experiencing a lot of issues. As for my generation, we have been exposed to more problems and the corruption of the governments and civilizations around the world, specifically in the United States, thanks to social media. With drug usage, the rise in taxes, college tuitions, gun related crimes, and the mistreatment of our veterans being just a few of the many hurdles we as a country are faced with, we should be growing more concerned with who we place in charge to help eliminate or reduce these issues everyday. It is my duty to make sure that the laws of today are going to help those who come after me. Generations before us have made it their calling to fight for the right to have a voice in this nation, and this is especially important to me as an African-American. My ancestors risked their lives in order to be seen as humans who have the right to choose their destinies or decide who has the power to regulate the acts that can influence the way they live. Those who came before me resisted and fought back to the powers that tried to take away their voices so that I can have the privilege to speak on the injustices and wrongdoings that occur throughout this country, and it would be a disservice to them if I did not exercise my freedom of speech and ability to vote.
The action of voting is much bigger than choosing who we think is the best candidate or the lesser of two evils. What we decide today dictates what our future will look like. Not everyone who has access to the powers that control this land are always going to be in the best interest of the people they influence with their decisions. There are politicians that are out to only benefit themselves and those who they can relate to, meaning the rest of us who are not in a position to directly change our conditions are forced to endure unfortunate circumstances. These type of people do not deserve to be given the power to manipulate the lives of the less fortunate. Governing bodies should be able to relate with those who are affected by their choices, so we as citizens must apply ourselves through voting to make sure that those who are morally sound and concerned with the lives of other humans are making their way into these offices and that they have the power to make the this country a better place for everyone. My vote does not only matter to me, but it matters to those who are disenfranchised and stripped of their right to be a vessel of change in this country. It matters to those who seek to change the world and need my support in order to get there. This world we inhabit is in our hands, and we have the power to change what we see, and I believe this can be done one vote at a time.