Photo Source: Huffington Post
Article by: Adele

On October 19th 2016, the night Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister was about to be elected, I remember seeing my father typing away on his laptop, in a Facebook chat with friends, awaiting the poll statistics and news on Canada's next Prime Minister. Trudeau was in the lead of course, and either way, I wasn't really worried about the outcome of this election. My friends discussed it a bit, but not in depth. We were happy to get rid of our past Prime Minister Stephen Harper after having jeopardized Canada’s economy multiple times, cutting budgets for national parks, caused the slowest average economic rate Canada has had since post-World War II and more. After Harper's government, many were excited for another government head to take his place. We were assured by everyone that Trudeau had the title in the bag. And he did. Once he got elected, everyone, including myself, were pleased. I have to admit that a week after that, though, all care for our government's head had disappeared. Justin Trudeau was good; not perfect, but good. I didn't know all the facts, or exactly what he stood for, but I knew in general that I was in more or less good hands. And this lack of concern I demonstrated is one of the main problems concerning voting today.
On November 8th 2016, America follows the United Kingdom's footsteps by falling into fear. The entire world watched the election, a good majority anticipating a better endgame, only to be met with their downfall. Both of these nations lay in pitying states, once we cheered for them, watching hopefully from the sidelines, only to be met by disappointment and fear. Rallies,  hate crimes and protests have risen in their wake. And all of this is due to voting.
Voting leads to an aftermath, to a future, and so many people don't realize that. No matter how little or big the action on vote is, whether it be municipal, state/provincial wide or nationwide - it all matters. And not only does voting by itself hold importance, but understanding what you're voting for, the weight each vote holds and your country's voting system are all important aspects to contemplate.
For any country, understanding the candidate's' beliefs is vital. Especially if you're of age, do not vote mindlessly, read up on the candidates and form your own opinions. Do not vote for a candidate or option without learning their stands, and considering their effect on the future, not only for yourself, but everyone and everywhere it applies. A huge problem nowadays is the lack of fact checking and how that takes a mind of its own in a world filled with social media and people, especially young people, who take false information  word for word, then share it, without really knowing if it's true or not. With social media playing a big part in the circulation of information today, floods of inaccurate articles and misinformation gets passed around, and it is important to be wary of this and to always double check. (For example, all those write-in ballots for Harambe? False.)
While having a view is important, considering its effect on others is also essential. Always make sure to take account of different perspectives and the possible future for the environment and/or community in question. Lastly, I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding your country's voting system. After Donald Trump was elected as president, the world grew angry, and with that, fingers were being pointed. So many people blamed third party voters or Harambe voters, for failing to elect Hillary as president when, in reality, she won the popular vote. Trump just won the system, due to the Electoral College.
This is all to say that fear has become a real motivator for terrible decisions in many countries, and we can help those who've already succumbed to said fear, but we can also help prevent a future built on fear and ignorance in other countries for the generations to come. Voting equals to a change in the future, and it's up to us to make it happen. Use your voice, and together we will be heard.