Why I Vote?: Exclusive story featuring EU student Kiriam Yordan-Ortiz

      There are numerous ways to answer why we do what we do or why we believe what we believe. It is a self-reflective thought, one that no one can answer for us without stepping into privacy boundaries. Almost like going to the beach to tan in the sun, set up a chair, or squeeze our toes against the warm cozy sand. We rather choose to stay on the surface level, than to dig for treasure. Yes, it does take effort and segments of our time, but there is a gratifying sensation to go beyond where many have not yet reach. When entering into someone’s privacy, it is well to hold the reminder of this illustration: Remaining on the surface is appealing, but digging in the sand gives a chance to discover unclaimed pearls.

      Kiriam Yordan-Ortiz, 19, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on Nov. 8th, 1998. Currently he lives in Hazleton, PA and is a resident student in his junior year at Eastern. If you were to ask him what he thinks about interpersonal relationships, he would say how he’s considered to be quite a conversationalist. A people person. He finds freedom having the opportunity to engage with hearty and sometimes uneasy subjects. But no matter the length of the process, he believes open discussions are the best way to authentically understand each other and our surroundings.

      Nov. 8th, 2016. Does this date look familiar? For Ortiz it is one he can never forget. A day full of excitement, full of wonder, full of knick-knacks and chit-chats going on from sunrise to sunset. There was commotion in the streets, in the byways and highways ever so jam packed it would discourage anyone from wanting to leave the comfort of their bed. But someone did, that someone was Kiriam. It was a day of celebration and the gathering of loved ones, but something overshadowed all of the gifts, cards, and praises. It was America’s 58th quadrennial presidential election between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. A day some choose to forget, not necessarily for the need to cast votes, but possibly for the mockery and unpredictable future of this country. Oh, and not to forget. For Ortiz it was his birthday.

      It was a Tuesday, a very dark day that was cloudy and rainy all morning during Ortiz’s freshman year. “I felt dreadful. Just wanted to avoid going to the booth. I decide to go vote at around 7pm that evening for my first voting experience,” said Ortiz. For Kiriam his first time voting was  “tricky” not due to the voting process itself, but for having to make a choice between what he calls “the lesser of two evils”. He chooses to not judge people based on their vote during the 2016 election, as he realized the whole nation was stuck in an uncomfortable place.

      Ortiz grew familiar with politics and regional campaigning in Puerto Rico. He grew up witnessing his parents assist first-hand in the community fundraisers and promotion of elections so that people would vote. “It comes natural to me to be involved in politics. My dad has been involved since 1979, he started when he was 16. He served in local politics, state, and regional. He worked representatives, worked for mayors, and governors. So he knows the whole shebang, and my mom got into it when they got married. They had me help out with the endorsements,” said Ortiz.

      Puerto Rico politics were quite distinct to elections held in America. For many years the political parties were dictated, where as Ortiz chimes, “The political party of our city did not win until 1988, after being established in the mid-50’s.” The only way to see change in the city, was for the people to vote or nothing would ever get done. It took enough persuasion and reasoning.

      With the recent Judge Kavanaugh case followed closely by the media and protests, as well as the persisting emotions from the 2016 election, Ortiz stills encourages students and faculty to take out a moment of their day to vote this November. He advocates for the freedom to have a voice and the right to elect our nation’s leaders. It’s not a disadvantage.

      “Whether you are a democrat, a republican, or an independent, go out and vote. Be sure your vote is genuine, and think of what’s best for our country. Those in congress should not rule based on what’s best for their party, but what’s best for the people,” Ortiz  disclosed.

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