Columnist discusses feeling left out of the midterm election process

By Molly Mitchell, ’20

I am 17. It sucks. There isn’t anything special that comes with your 17th year. No license. No extended curfew. Barely a birthday dinner: “We have to prepare to make your eighteenth big.” I don’t want to harsh on 17 too much, though. There are definitely benefits to an off-year like being able to use the midnight legal curfew as an excuse when your sketchy friend asks you to sneak out, or buying a ticket when the same friend wants to see an R-rated film.

By Molly Mitchell, ’20

I am officially no longer that 16-year-old who, after leaving the BMV, didn’t see her parents for six straight days. And only spoke to them because she needed cash to refill her tank. But I am also not 18.

I don’t have the privilege of going to the polls on this midterm election day and making my opinion heard. I am not a part of the process. I can’t wear my “I heart voting” sticker on my chest while watching the election coverage on TV. But people who act like I act and dress like I dress and talk like I talk can.

I’ve always thought that voting when you’re 18 is sensible because magically on your 18th birthday, you become an adult. Every year, your aunt asks you, “Does it feel different to be one year older?” and you always respond, “I feel the same way I did yesterday.” Why is 18 the exception?

Are 18-year-olds significantly more “adult” than I am? On Aug. 13, 2019, am I going to wake up knowing how to file taxes and save money for retirement?

I can’t help but be just the right amount of upset that people who are just like me, but were born a little sooner, are able to participate in the elections today. Definitely the “I wrote an op/ed about it” upset but not the “I am going to complain about a day off” upset. Enjoy your day off, bears. And if you’re 18, vote.