Nothing makes my stomach turn faster than when someone says they’re not voting. I understand that apathy in general makes you seem aloof, and being aloof makes you seem hip, but not voting is not hip. Political indifference just ends up making you look lame and ignorant. Believe me.
Voting is your civic duty, and it’s so unbelievably easy to fulfil. All you have to do is take 15 minutes and give the government your opinion. You don’t have to write an essay. You don’t need an original idea. You just need an opinion.
There are a ton of issues that really only have traction with younger voters right now. The polar ice caps are melting. College costs a fortune. Only six states in the United States think gay people are harmless enough that they can get married.
This stuff bites, but who cares enough to change it? Young people. We are the age demographic that is most affected by all this baloney. Let’s do something about it.
Now, when I say ‘let’s do something about it,’ I’m talking about easy things. Don’t worry about calling Congress, volunteering or organizing anyone for anything. If you don’t already do this, then you probably won’t in the future, which is really OK. These things require a serious time commitment, but voting does not. The whole point of having a republic is to elect someone to make the tough decisions for us. All we have to do is pick someone, that’s it. So easy, right? It’s such a painless task. You just have to pick a guy.
Young people are often looked down upon and disregarded as lazy or uninformed. As young people, we know that’s not the case. Well OK, a lot of us are pretty lazy, but by and large we are all well-informed. We know what we want, we know what we like and we know what sounds fair. When you boil it down, that’s all that politics is about. Which guy running for the White House, Congress or the Senate do you think is right? Pick him or her. Pick anyone.
Don’t forget, you can’t gripe about rules, laws, leaders, fines or taxes if you didn’t even take part in the election. People that try to pull that just look silly. You also can’t justify not voting by saying your one vote won’t sway an election, because that’s just not true. We’re all in this together. Voting isn’t an individual kind of game. We’re supposed to have each other’s backs. When you vote, you’re helping improve not just your life, but also the lives of every other American. Anyone can change anything, hence why our ancestors came to this country. So much can happen when just a few people decide they want to get involved.
Joseph Chmielewski is a senior in the School of International Service.