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Columnist Megan Ziemann refuses to be part of an election forcing her silence. 

The past few months in politics have disappointed me, to say the least. My first caucus was a disaster, the candidate I pledged my time and money to dropped out of the race (which caused a massive party rift) and the favorite for the Democratic Party nomination was accused of sexual assault

This is not how I wanted my first time voting in a general election to go. 

I wanted an effective caucus that made me proud of my home state.

I wanted a fair and just selection process among the Democratic candidates. 

I wanted a frontrunner I could put my entire being behind in support. 

I wanted to be heard and understood. 

Instead, I’m writing this in the middle of May 2020, stuck in my apartment and feeling lost and helpless about the process that is supposed to be the hallmark of American culture. My social media is a storm right now, with "Vote Blue No Matter Whos" and "Never Bidens" both vying for my online support. 

It’s shameful.

On one side, I am disgusted. I feel like we’re seeing a repeat of the Brett Kavanaugh situation, where we are refusing to believe women, survivors are belittled in favor of the “greater good” and ultimately a not-so-great man is being given a pass so he can occupy a political office. 

But that’s just the public side of the issue. 

Privately, I work in violence prevention, I’m minoring in women’s and gender studies — which I want to continue in grad school someday — and last semester I took a course on human trafficking and learned firsthand the struggles of survivors of all types of abuse. 

I cannot in good faith put my name behind someone who has been accused of the things Joe Biden has. 

Morally, I cannot knock doors for him, I cannot phone bank for him and I still don’t know if I can vote for him.

That uncertainty about my vote was hard to realize, especially with the current global pandemic. COVID-19 has shown the nation just how horrible the Trump administration is for the American people. They don’t care about us and they never will. It is crucial that we, as a nation of voters, do not give them another four years in office. But, in order to do that, we have to vote for someone we don’t like.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s shameful. It’s shameful that my and so many others’ first general election may end up being between two sexual predators. It’s shameful that my voice feels like it has been silenced. 

But it is what it is.

And if I’ve gained anything from the 2016 and 2018 elections, the only way to change it is from the inside.

I’m not telling you what to do. I don’t even know what I’m going to do yet. But, I can tell you one thing: if Joe Biden isn’t your candidate, find someone who is. Find someone running for a House or a Senate seat. Pay attention to who is running in your local area. Right now it may seem like the contrary, but the presidency isn’t everything. We can still make change on a state and local level, and those candidates need all of your support to make that happen. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that being politically active can mean a lot of things. For me, it’s volunteering for the people I truly believe in.

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