Student Activism vs the 2020 presidential election

How students are staying updated and educated on current country-wide issues.

Students+protest+in+Washington+D.C.+Photo+Courtesy+of+The+Atlantic.

Students protest in Washington D.C. Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic.

 

With the presidential election less than a week away, many high school students are paying close attention to the upcoming election even though most are not eligible to vote. Students are using social media to spread political messages, looking for ways to volunteer, and feeling the effect of the upcoming election.

 

The popularity of social media has spilled over into the presidential election. Both candidates have active social media platforms. Some students have used Instagram to inform others on the candidates.

 

“I feel like social media is extremely important, but it can also be risky to this election,” Freshman Nicholas Kehayias said. Kehayias believes social media has a strong influence on political beliefs, “I personally don’t like to post about politics a lot, but I do post updates about Biden and Trump on my story,” he added. 

 

In contrast, some students use Instagram to express their beliefs. “I think utilizing social media is important because it helps spread awareness [of] important issues. I usually share Instagram posts and important petitions,” sophomore Emma Eismeier said. 

 

Amidst the election, some students plan to volunteer, while some are unable due to COVID-19. “I want to volunteer for something election-related, but I have family members that are high risk for covid,” Eismeier said. 

 

Despite the conditions, students are aware of how important it is for others to vote. “Everyone’s vote is a chance for change, and not voting is giving up your voice,” freshman Sabina Wright said. 

 

The election has affected students in a variety of ways. “The election has impacted me a lot. I [now] pay attention to the news more and stay more aware of what’s going on. It’s also taught me to stand up for what I believe in more,” Eismeier said. 

 

However, some students have not been directly affected by the election. “While I know it’s [a] privilege of me to say, the election hasn’t had an effect on my lifestyle, but I am aware of the effect it will have on others, so I’m open to standing with people it has an effect on,” Junior Elijah Begab said. 

A realization some people may make is that their friends might not have the same political views. “My friends and I do have differing political views, but I don’t let it get in the way of our friendship,” Junior Palmer Moore said. “I also don’t define my friendships based upon what people think politically.” 

 

“I do have friends with different views, but it’s more of a split between one friend and another, [it] doesn’t really affect me,” Begab said. 

 

While some students like Moore and Begab have friends with different political views, other students have aligned opinions with their peers. “No, most of my friends and I have the same political views and opinions. For me, a friendship has never ended due to a disagreement on political views,” Wright said. 

 

“No, most of my friends are left-leaning or leftists, and the people that aren’t we all advocate for human rights [and] believe in the same things,” Eismeier said.

Despite the pandemic, students are finding ways to stay updated and get involved in the upcoming election. Hopefully, this level of engagement continues when more students become eligible to vote.