GUEST OPINION: Political involvement and the 2020 election

What it means to vote often varies from person to person. For some people, it actually means nothing, and they argue that our political system is completely dominated by the “elite.” In another sense, voting only signifies the selection of candidates who are running for various political positions. However, voting can also be very symbolic. It can represent one’s level of sociopolitical awareness after dedicating themselves to individual investigation; it can be a testimony to the energy that someone puts into respectful and meaningful political discussions; it can validate the time and effort that someone has dedicated to work for a candidate; it can denote someone who seeks out other opportunities to change society. Everyone has their own ideas of what voting is all about, and thankfully, we live in a country that upholds freedom of choice when it comes to expressing political views. This is an integral part of our democracy.

When I think of voting I consider both the literal and symbolic perspectives. I know that a “vote” is simply a number on paper, but I am also aware that there is so much potential to be explored through the political process. There is a certain power in someone who validates their thoughts and actions by voting, especially when they feel so strongly about their convictions that they are willing to shape their life’s work around these beliefs. Their vote serves as an indication that they actually care about what is going on in the world and that they are willing to do something about it whether it is by voting or through several different outlets. This is an attitude that is shared by individuals who want to be actively involved in shaping the future, and I am one of those people. I am very proud to be one of those people.

Unfortunately, we currently have a political system that is not adequately inclusive nor fairly representative of the majority of our country’s population. Personally, I have always considered myself a left-leaning individual, yet I have also explored some centrist ideologies, such as libertarianism. For every election season, however, I only have two main options to choose from for each position, and many times, the options that I have do not represent me very well. I know that many people share this same sentiment, and among those who want more options to choose from (myself included), there is a lot of variety within that collective group. Because of this, I believe that an expansion of the system itself, or rather, the support of more political parties and individuals, should be something that is championed for in the future.

It is also unfortunate that we might have to wait some time before this issue is resolved. For one thing, it might take a while to sufficiently transition to more adequate inclusion and representation. Furthermore, it appears that the consequences of the 2020 election will be very serious. Today, the United States is more divided than ever, and the country is falling short on the handling of both domestic and global affairs. This situation that we are collectively facing has provoked a critical evaluation of the functional state of our political system. This criticism has taken on many forms, but a lot of it revolves around our current president, Donald Trump.

For almost four years, the people of this country (and the entire world) have had to endure the reign of the Trump administration. However, Trump’s main opponent, Joe Biden, poses a legitimate threat to his chances for reelection. Biden has garnered a rather impressive following after being nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. He resonates with a large group of people for several reasons: he has over 47 total years of experience as both senator and vice president, he has contributed to various legislative acts and other political decisions through his involvement in politics, he appears to be a decent person and he is the antithesis of Donald Trump in many ways. Compared to the chaotic and hostile nature of the Trump administration, Joe Biden is like a symbol of hope for the future. If he wins, he might be able to provide solutions for some of the problems that we are facing today.

Surely, our future is uncertain, but that is no reason to leave our fate in the hands of others, and it is certainly not a reasonable excuse to be inactive when faced with alternatives. We all have the power to take action in our lives. Every day, we have choices to make that contribute to shaping the future in some capacity. These decisions are not excluded from one’s participation in the political process, and this fact should be considered when discussing the importance of being involved with politics, regardless of what form that involvement takes.

With regards to this election, I cannot predict the consequences of possible outcomes. However, what I do know is that I can make a difference by being involved in politics. I have already voted, been involved in several activist movements, campaigned for a local candidate and had many discussions with family, friends and other individuals. All of these outlets have been very fulfilling, and I plan to continue being involved as I encounter more opportunities in the future. I hope that through my words and actions I can encourage others to do the same.

Lance Batton is a guest opinion writer.


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.