Hear Me Roar

From Issue 1: Shell Shock

Allie Zamarin 22|New York, NY|@alliezamarin

I have been too passive. Prior to this year I was never interested in politics. To be frank, I didn’t know a single thing about it. In fact, I even classified myself a member of a political party that I now know I am not — and never have been — politically aligned with. But I had no idea.

It wasn’t until my boyfriend took the time to sit me down this year that I realized I was certainly not a Republican. He asked me about my opinions on major political issues, and upon concluding his less than three minute quiz he laughed and told me that I was in fact a Democrat. I had no idea. My family members were registered Republicans, so when I turned 18 and registered to vote I said, “Okay, I must be a Republican too.”

I am ashamed to admit that I was living selfishly before this year. Politics had not mattered to me because politics did not greatly affect me, or so I thought. Over the past year I have strived to learn as much as possible. For the first time in my life I was paying attention to the news, reading about politics and becoming informed. I finally began getting a grasp on my political viewpoint, but I never voiced it. I didn’t think my voice mattered. I thought it was clutter.

The night of the election I watched the numbers trudge along on the screen and I began sobbing uncontrollably. Like many of us, I was in absolute disbelief. I had been so naive about the hate that existed in my own backyard. I realized how regretful I was of my silence, and I thought of how many people out there must be just like me. If I had spoken up, if I had a conversation with at least one person, if I had swayed just one opinion I would have made an impact. I didn’t, though, because I didn’t think it mattered when all the while it had.

The next day I did something I never had before: I posted on Facebook. About politics. While that may not seem like much, it’s a start for me. It’s a promise to myself that I will hold myself accountable and speak up in the future. Sitting back and being passive has not been enough and each individual voice does matter. We cannot allow ourselves to remain silent and only speak up when rights and rules affecting only us are threatened.

What I have realized this week is that silence is just as bad as hate. If I can help at least one person to find their voice and begin to speak up then speaking up and making as much noise as possible is worth it. We cannot be passive. We need to speak up. We need to take action. Millennials are the largest voting block in the country, but unless we speak up, we will never be heard.

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