Tuesday night, I got to participate in my first caucus. I turned 18 in December and instead of being excited about being able to all these really cool "adult" things, I was thrilled to become a person who could exercise their right to vote.
I’ve been passionate about politics since I was a little girl and in 2012 when my mom took me to go see President Obama speak before the election, I was so jealous that I couldn’t participate in that election. Well Tuesday night, I got to experience all of the thrills and anxiety that come with a presidential election.
I was standing in a room with hundreds of other people that were so passionate about what happens in this country. As a high school student, the political participation in my community is very low. People don’t necessarily take the opportunities to become politically involved. At the caucus, I definitely saw that. I don’t think that I saw one other high school student there.
When I read about voter turnout in my textbook, it has always said the the age group that is the least active in the polls is the 18-24 year olds. And wow, that textbook was right. I was the youngest one there and that was pretty alarming to me. So many people in my school have these opinions about who should run the country, but they don’t act on them.
When the time came to vote for delegates, I pushed my way up to the table and my hand shot up when they asked who wanted to volunteer. Of course I did! What better opportunity to show my support and get my voice heard? I had an opportunity in front of me to represent my precinct at the county delegate assembly. Sure enough, I got elected and that was such an amazing feeling.
The last thing that I want to talk about is the general attitude of the people caucusing. Yes, they were excited and ready to be active; but they were very impatient. My precinct captain was not handling our caucus the way that people wanted and they were getting very irritated and impatient. I was standing there and the only thing that I could think about, was that this was the purest form of democracy that existed. These people standing in a room and raising their hands and yelling for their candidate, is the foundation of this country. How blessed are we that we can all get together and talk about who would be the best person to lead this country?
This experience for me was a defining moment in my life because last night was an opportunity for me to show my passion. I have a new-found appreciation for this democracy.
Hannah Goldstein is a senior at Northglenn High School. She is passionate about young people using their voice, immigration and education reform. In addition to being an Inspired Leader, Hannah is a member of the Northglenn swim team and U.S Representative Ed Perlmutter's Youth Advisory Council.