At Mic, our goal has always been to put humans over headlines and help readers understand how the issues impact people’s lives. That mission has never been clearer than in this moment. This election isn’t about politics; it’s about people. Our rights, our wellbeing, and our future are on the line.

2020 has seen an unprecedented number of Americans protesting racial injustice. $400,000 hospital bills for coronavirus treatment. Fires swallowing California homes as the Trump administration rolls back environmental protections and appoints a climate change denier to lead the government agency dedicated to fighting climate change. A president who carelessly tweets “Don’t be afraid of COVID” when over 200,000 Americans have died from the disease.

Four years ago, I reported live from the Trump headquarters on election night and watched him take the stage as The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” echoed in the Midtown Hilton’s ballroom. As a pandemic besieges the country and corruption strains our voting systems, I wonder how this could possibly be what any American wants. Four years of headlines filled with fresh horrors. A relentless drumbeat of controversy and deception. Hate speech usurping the rhetoric of hope. This November, we have to demand better.

This is the most consequential election of our generation. Millions of young and first-time voters will have the chance to choose a new direction for this country and flex their political power. But we need to show up. Our collective faith in this democracy may be wavering, but we cannot be chastened. There is no room for apathy or ambivalence. We have a responsibility to each other.

Despite what our president says, your ballot will be counted. Your voice will be heard.

Now get out there and vote.

—Shanté Cosme, Executive Editor

[artwork by Dewey Saunders]