To Vote or Not To Vote

In the wake of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, I have had a lot to think about in relation to the upcoming November 6 elections. The first is that, sadly enough, I am not inspired. I know there has been a lot of hoopla and good feelings, streamers from the ceiling, Clint Eastwood moments, Foo Fighters performances, etc. But I’m not buying any of it. I am, sad to say, feeling apathetic. And yes, I know that is a common feeling on this campus, regardless of the fact that the election is upon us.

However, I like to consider myself a regular newsreader, passionate about world events and not apathetic on a normal day. There is just something about this election that stirs nothing in me but anger. I feel as if, as a young person in the U.S. today, my options are sparce. Living in a seri-ously polarized bi-partisan system, this election has seemed more an opportunity for both parties to take a couple punches at each other than do much positive change.

No matter who wins in November, chances are its not going to help myself and my fellow 700 or so class of 2013-ers get a job. It probably won’t do much for student debt. It probably won’t help me have insurance when I can’t find said job. I can’t speak for everyone, but the sentiment among my friends and peers seems to be, “why bother?” Why bother voting at all? Why bother paying attention? It’s a point well taken.

Well, despite all this negative energy, I think we have to bother. I’m none too pleased about it myself, but we have to vote in this election. Yes, the options are slim, and I hear many people say maybe it would be better not to vote at all. But that is just letting the system win. We have to vote!

This is especially true for the ladies out there. Women’s suffrage is already 92 years old, yet some-times it feels like a lot less than that, with all the social issues about women on the table. When we don’t vote, especially as the young “next” generation, we literally are saying to the world that we give up.

And sure, it feels like that is the best option sometimes, but what will you tell your children one day when so and so president wins or doesn’t win, and the country goes into flames? Will you tell them you just didn’t care enough to vote? That will look really good.

So, take care of your business this fall. If you haven’t already, make sure you send in your ab-sentee ballot forms (just Google your state’s voter registration, and print it out), or register for the first time if you have never voted before. There are some deadlines coming up, most of them in the beginning of October. Don’t miss this opportunity.

If you are feeling really apathetic, consider that not only will you be voting for the next president of the United States, but for your state representatives as well. Additionally, many states have some important issues up for referendum this election.

Four, count ’em, four states are voting on marriage rights for same sex couples like in my home state, Maryland. As an issue which I would go as far as claiming to be the civil rights issue of our generation, this is something you probably don’t want to miss out on (no matter what side of the argument you fall on).

The take home message is this. Sure, things are looking pretty bleak right now. But who is to say they can’t get better? And surely, they won’t get better unless we at least try to care.

Contact Becca Friedland at [email protected].