Young US voters have called for prayers today as the country takes part in the presidential election. Turnout is high but anxiety is also rising. Sophie Todd reports.
Young Americans have been voicing their worries and concerns about America’s future. They are turning out in high numbers to vote in the upcoming Presidential election but many are feeling disheartened and anxious.
A poll by Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics last week revealed voters 18-29 are projected for a historic high turnout.
The Study revealed over half of young Americans experienced anxiety in the 24 hours immediately before taking the survey. It was more common than joy (35%) or excitement (27%).
Justin Tseng, Chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, said “Young people have grown up with the fear of school shootings, they’ve witnessed the destructive forces of unchecked climate change, they’ve participated in demonstrations against racial and economic injustice, and they’re hungry for calm, sure-handed leadership”.
Kaitlyn Grace, 20, is a full-time student in East Texas. She was raised in a “strongly” Republican household but identifies as a Democrat or a Socialist. She has lost friends over politics.
She said: “America is a scary place to be in. We are doomed. I am fully expecting protests and riots. I settled for Biden, I don’t love him”
“By the time I was 13 or 14 I had been exposed to the tragedies that involved racial injustices, by the time I was 15 I was part of the LGBT+ community… even though we were taught that everyone was treated equally, that was not true ”
Her father, who was the Mayor of her local town is voting Democrat for the first time. Kaitlyn hopes that there will one day be a change to the two-party political system.
Erik Freels-Vargas, 25, is a financial analyst at a New York City hospital and graduate student. He has just returned from casting his ballot. He said: “Covid-19 raised the stakes. There was an untold amount of suffering, particularly for poorer Americans, Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous Americans. it was painful to live it and see it with my own eyes. I saw the refrigerator trucks of deceased victims as the morgues started to fill.
“The urban-rural divide is real. The college-educated vs. non-college-educated divide is real. It is not just Trump who worries me, but rather the ideas and behavior he puts out into the world that will outlive him. I fear America is embarking down a path that will be very difficult to reverse.”
He is positive. “I quite enjoy the discourse in the (Democrat) party right now, it makes for a good debate!”
A young High School teacher from Texas worries that expressing his political views could cost him his job. He experiences extreme anxiety. “He (Trump) is not the cause of problems we have, however, he is the ignition of the fire that’s been burning. Democrats and Republicans are equally flawed.”
He has voted for Biden and speaks of families fighting, opposing flags with obscene slogans outside churches, and a division between voters.
“I feel less as a person. I am on anti-anxiety medication now for the first time, because of the constant worry of this new time we live in. Please pray for us all.”