Non-voter prefers to rely on each other rather than higher authorities

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Courtesy of Nadine Brikho

Reem Brikho at her home in Rochester Hills, Mich. on Sept. 17.

America is a divided nation and once people come together as one, so will the country, said Reem Brikho, a 23-year-old public health masters student at Oakland University. Brikho chooses not to label herself as either Democrat or Republican, as her views overlap.

“I feel like each view (has) issues that should be addressed,” she said. “So, if I’m more on the Democrat side, but there are issues on the Republican side that I feel like should be addressed, why should I pick and choose?”

She feels citizens should not rely on a designated higher authority to solve the country’s problems. Instead, more people should be open-minded regarding political issues and individual differences, she said.

“It’s so important to have a higher authority but at the same time […] why don’t we rely on each other more, so we can do the minor issues while we put the major issues on the politicians,” Brikho said.

Currently, she does not plan to register to vote. She said her mindset may change in the future. In order to be convinced to vote, she wants to see the nation coming together by respecting and educating one another.

“Having cultural competency and empathy is an important aspect,” she said regarding the nation coming together.

“I think it’s good to hear what they (voters) have to say. Then again, we have higher authorities that end up making the decisions for us,” she said.

Since she has not been through the registration process, her knowledge on it is slim.

“I believe it goes by districts,” she said. “It’s like a ballot. I’m really not sure (what) the questionnaires (are) based on. There’ll be general demographic questions. Then, you picked your political party and (it’s) sent to the secretary of state.”

According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, an individual must be 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a Michigan resident and clear of current felony offenses to register. The application consists of identification by providing a Michigan driver’s license or state personal ID, Social Security number, home address and mailing address. Finally, the applicant signs to certify the information.

While Brikho remains unregistered and unfamiliar with politics, she feels affected by deportation and school shootings. Being a Chaldean, she said her community was affected when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was deporting Chaldeans to Iraq.

“I felt that (the ICE) was very traumatizing,” she said. “Second of all, the way they (the government) approach traumas that have happened, especially when it comes to school shootings.”

Despite being an unregistered citizen, she said her role in American democracy is being a public health master’s student. For health care, she leans more toward Democratic health care such as the Affordable Care Act and believes Planned Parenthood should be an option for individuals.

“I have a huge passion for helping people with their needs regarding their health,” she said. “I’m very hands on when it comes to people’s health, their needs and that’s my focus (in) American democracy and that’s where I plan on staying.”

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