I Pity The Fool Who Doesn’t Vote In The 2004 Election

In 59 days, Americans will go to the polls and cast their vote for President. On November 2, most people will drive to their local polling places and cast their vote for George W. Bush, John Kerry, Ralph Nader or a slew of other candidates. Many citizens relish at the opportunity to cast their vote for the most powerful person on the face of the earth. Sadly, many young people couldn’t care less. A majority of adults age 18-24 do not vote. Young people today are more civically disengaged then ever before. This is a big problem not only for us college students but also for the entire American polity.Here at Colgate, voting is not as simple as it might be back at home. Unless you’ve changed your voter registration to your address here in Hamilton, you’ll need to request an absentee ballot. Sadly, many college students do not have the initiative to follow through on this. In the 2000 presidential election, only 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-24 voted. We can do much better than that. For many first-years on the Colgate campus, this will be your first shot to vote, and you ought to make the most of it. If you haven’t registered to vote, or you need to request an absentee ballot, visit www.rockthevote.com or www.declareyourself.com. These websites provide important tips to make sure your vote is heard. Sure, it requires a little more effort, but voting is important. As young Americans, our interests are consistently ignored by lawmakers in Washington and for good reason; we don’t vote. If we don’t support our legislators, why should they be mindful of us when they pass laws? Did you know that almost 13 million young Americans between the ages of 18-29 do not have health insurance? Our elected officials get away with this because our age group does not vote. Politicians wouldn’t think of cutting Medicare for senior citizens because they vote in large numbers. If a politician casts a vote to cut college financial aid, the political repercussions are minimal because college students do not go to the polls. We are consistently underrepresented and ignore by the government and it’s our own damn fault. I urge all Colgate students, liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat to pay attention to our political system and vote. Make sure your vote is an educated one. Form your own independent political thoughts. We can make change, starting with this election. Still, most college student couldn’t give a crap about politics. Many view the system with cynicism and skepticism, and I don’t blame them; but to turn their backs on our political system is a slap in the face to those Americans who fought, struggled and died for us to have free elections. When you hear somebody say, “There’s nothing I can do”, they really mean: “I’m too lazy to do anything.” As a vehicle for change, the most important thing one can do is vote. The generations of the past fought so that we could live in a society where free elections and free speech are protected and valued by all. We are the bearers of a political legacy over 225; to throw that all away would be criminal.