In the midst of the presidential debates, and with my currentwork registering voters on campus, I thought I’d bring tolight an even more relevant part of our nation’s politicalsovereignty: the right to vote.
We all know that we live in a great country. Those whodon’t realize this obviously never pick up a paper or watch anews brief and don’t see the hardships of other places.
Imagine growing up in a country that has always been at war, acountry without democracy or one that would choose for you theamount of kids you can have, the amount of education you canreceive or the job you can obtain.
Face it, our freedom as Americans extends well beyond what themajority of the world’s population will know in theirlifetime, yet we take for granted these rights. We choose not toacknowledge them or implement them.
In the 2000 elections only 51% of the voting population voted,and the outcome was decided by 537 votes in Florida.
There are many criticisms for what went wrong here.
Many people were unsure where their precincts were located, andthey were turned away at the polls. This problem has beenrectified. Due to new policies, you can vote, regardless of yourname being present on a list, by provisionary ballot.
In 2000 there were talks of conspiracy; was the electionrigged?
The truth is we will never know. The point is if more people hadvoted in the first place, we could have avoided the discrepanciesaltogether.
Our generation has the greatest influence over this upcomingelection. In 2000, we in the age group of 18-24 only made up 36% ofthe voters. That’s just sad.
I spent last week on campus attempting to change this statistic;in four and a half hours I registered 14 people. Was my endeavorjust a waste of time?
Our values are no longer representative of what our forefathersfought so hard to guarantee us. The right to decide our ownpolitical future did not always exist. It is something that hasbeen fought for with great effort. But I won’t bore you witha history lesson here.
I won’t say how in colonial times only white men who ownedproperty could vote. How many people would that leave out today, Iwonder?
I won’t criticize women either, who only won the right tovote in the year 1920, and who currently make up the mostunderrepresented population of people at the polls.
Is any of this old news? It shouldn’t be.
So instead I want to make a plea to everyone out there with anunderstanding of what’s at stake and the difference of onevote.
What is at stake? Veterans’ rights, tax breaks,women’s rights, military policies, the war in Iraq?
The truth is everything is at stake: our freedoms, our liberties.The future of our America is at stake.
We have an opportunity to change our potential in the world onevote at a time. Do you know what a truly powerful gift that is?
The statistics don’t lie.
Do you want to talk about American people and their ideals? Justconsider this: more people voted in the last contest for AmericanIdol than in the 2000 election!
And remember, when November 2 comes around, living in Americagives us the freedom of speech, but voting gives us the freedom tocomplain.