The author is seen here mountain biking the Lost Lake Trail near Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Sara Lane)

The author is seen here mountain biking the Lost Lake Trail near Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Sara Lane)

Tangled Up in Blue: Exercising Rights

Getting out to vote is as important as getting outdoors

  • Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:02pm
  • Sports

The autumn colors are in full bloom, the mountainsides are still covered in delectable blueberries and Seward has started slowing down. All these beautiful things are happening around me and I can’t fully enjoy it.

I want to write about something happy, about some great big adventure I took with a friend or how the glimpse of yesterday’s sunrise made me realize why I call Seward home, but those feelings are just as fleeting as the morning’s orange glow.

I want to expound on the exhilaration I felt as I flew down the Lost Lake Trail on my mountain bike last Saturday. I’m not a mountain biker, but I have a mountain bike. I hit the trail with a friend to give pedaling a try and, despite my initial hesitation, I realized I hadn’t forgotten how to ride a bike.

I want to tell you about the feeling of accomplishment I felt as I rode to the highest point of the trail and saw all of Seward below. I want to tell you how the smile on my friend’s face alleviated any nerves I had about sending it back down the trail at full speed.

How am I supposed to even think about all the beauty in this world, though, when there are people who aren’t registered to vote? How am I supposed to revel in the magic of downhill mountain biking when registered voters choose not to exercise their right to vote?

In the 2018 election, only 46 percent of registered Alaska voters cast their ballots. I get it, midterm elections can be boring, but in 2016 only 58 percent of registered voters submitted their ballots.

Imagine a world where half of the population gets to decide your future.

Say you’re planning a camping weekend with friends and two of the four travelers get to decide your destination. At first, it seems like it will be fine and fun. You trust that your friends have the trip’s best interest at heart.

But then you realize that one of your companions refuses to read weather reports and the other gets all their trail information from secondhand sources. After four days of hiking, you find yourself weathered in, 10 miles off trail, struggling to get back to where you started.

Why didn’t you speak up before the trip? You love reading the weather and have plenty of accurate trail maps on your bookshelf. You didn’t make sure your voice was heard and now you’re bushwhacking in the rain wondering how in the world you’re going to get back to where you started.

I know, I know, this hypothetical situation may seem like a stretch, but there are so many different ways that we express our opinion on a daily basis. Yet, when it comes to the leadership of our country, so many choose to stay quiet.

We live in a beautiful state, in a beautiful country, but only 50 percent of our population is deciding its future.

I want to tell you all about my mountain biking trip, about the blueberries near Kenai Lake, about the patches of red across the side of Mt. Alice, but I’m opting to ensure that my voice is heard and remind you to do the same.


By KAT SORENSEN

For the Clarion


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