Why Vote: The Student Perspective
As the presidential election looms, the public is inundated with mudslinging ads from every media source possible. Even Twitter is not safe from a promoted Romney or Obama Tweet! This nonstop barrage is often met with annoyance and scorn from my peers, who say things like, “Politics are dumb,” or “I don’t care about politics.” If they are referring to the partisanship and posturing of politics, I wholeheartedly agree. Politics are messy and rarely have anything to do with actual important issues. However, if my peers mean they are disinterested or do not care about who becomes the next president of the United States, then I would firmly disagree with their belief that politics are dumb. Every four years America elects its leader, a person who sets policies that WILL affect you as a citizen of this nation. Saying you do not care basically means you are willing to let those smart folks in Washington decide the rules that you need to live by. That is fine if you are a child and need daddy government to tell you what to do, but if you consider yourself an adult, why would you not put your two cents in when it comes to your own life? Ultimately, when the election comes around and you decide not to vote, your silence is saying that you are happy to submit to any rules whatsoever.
My argument is not that everyone should go vote willy-nilly, just to say they voted. For all you know, the person you voted for could unknowingly be a modern day Adolf Hitler. No, my argument is that the politics of this election are not stupid. They are important, not because your vote will change who the president will be or even the inevitability of Chicago carrying all of Illinois’ electoral votes for Obama, but because they affect YOU. Then, once the president is elected, you will know you have let your voice be heard, even if it was only one measly vote and not the candidate you voted for. This may seem more like a stand on principle, and maybe it is. If everyone in this nation opened their eyes and saw the positive changes they could help create, however, then that little principle could turn into a whole lot of good.
Sometimes a metaphor works better than an explanation. If you were on a bus that was driving somewhere you did not want to go, would you sit quietly and let the bus driver take you wherever he wanted, or would you go up to the front and tell him where you were trying to go? Now, in the case of the election, there are millions of people on this bus we call the United States and they all want to go different places, but if you do not at least let the bus driver know where YOU want to go, the only way you’re going to get there is by blind luck. So, my advice and my plea is this: first, figure out where you want this bus to go. What do you not like about the government? Maybe before this step you need to find out how your life is even affected by the current policies in place. Then, find out which politician you think is most likely to drive the bus to where you want to go and vote for that person.
An easy way to find out about the candidates and what they stand for is to watch the political debates on national television, but you can also take a look at CNN’s breakdown of the candidates and their stances at: http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/candidates.html. To register to vote, you can go to www.rockthevote.com and follow the instructions they provide. You can even order an absentee ballot so you can vote in the (relative) comfort of your dorm room. So, if you are someone who thinks politics are dumb or you don’t care about this stupid election, I do not want to hear you complain about how many taxes were taken from your paycheck when you decide not to vote. Do not sit idly by – use your freedom and vote.