It’s that time of year again. Spooky season is behind us, Starbucks is selling peppermint-flavored drinks in festive cups, a crisp wind is whisking the leaves of the trees, and the prospect of turkey and stuffing is causing mouths to start watering. But more importantly, it’s the season of making important decisions and fulfilling civic duties to the country. Election Day is November 5.
Being a college student, voting isn’t easy. If you just turned 18, maybe you were confused about how absentee ballot voting worked, or how to register, and maybe you missed the deadline to send in your ballot. Maybe you didn’t realize how fickle every state can be about counting absentee votes. That’s ok. At least you’re trying! This article isn’t for you. It’s for the people that don’t care or think that their vote doesn’t matter.
It’s impossible to deny that the United States is in deep turmoil right now. Whether you’re Republican, Democratic, Independent, or find that your beliefs align with a smaller, less well-known party, it is easy to see that the government is currently in shambles. Congress is thoroughly caught up in impeachment inquiries, foreign relations are blowing up in our face, and nobody is happy with how the country is being run. Now is the time to do something about it. As citizens, we have the power to decide who is in charge. We have the power to choose who cares for us. We have the power over our representatives- not the other way around. It is essential that we put thought and time into who we pick to govern us, and simply using our voice- whether it turns out the way you want or not- is enough to remind the country that it is not a dictatorship. Refusing to exercise your right to vote renders democracy pointless. We are the line between abuse of power and the power of the people.
So, you only vote in the “big” elections? You don’t know any of the people running for your local elections? You don’t like any of the candidates, so you won’t decide? Bullsh*t. First of all, the phrase “All politics are local” is true. Change never happens in giant, dramatic waves; it starts with tiny ripples that slowly grow into movements over time. Those tiny ripples can be your district attorney, your school board representatives, the county sheriff. And if you don’t know any of the people running for this election in your town, you’re not alone. Let’s face it: they don’t get a ton of publicity. But we live in an incredible time when infinite information is quite literally in your pocket! Whip out your phone and start Googling! It’s that easy! If you don’t like any of the candidates or know what they stand for, fine. Pick one topic you’re passionate about: it could be LGBT+ rights, feminism, gun laws, racially charged discrimination, anything. Find out what each candidate thinks about that topic and what their proposed policies are. The information is out there. And then make your decision based on that. Chances are that one will have at least a few policies that you agree with more than the other.
We have a duty to our country to ensure that it is being run correctly. We have the opportunity to tell the government what we want; why would we throw that away? If you are legally able to vote, then vote. If you’re 18 and haven’t registered, do it right now. You can do it online while sitting in bed with a snack and Netflix! You are directly affected by the decisions that our government is making, and there is not a single person in this country that can afford to sit out on a single election. It doesn’t matter if you’re busy with schoolwork, or you’re tired, or you don’t concern yourself with politics. There are so many people that don’t get the luxury to not care. Do us all a favor and vote this Tuesday and in every election that comes after.
Click here to register to vote in your state: https://vote.gov