Voting is citizens’ civil responsibility as Americans
May 22, 2012 • Ashlee Czapla, Bear Facts Contributor
Filed under Viewpoint
Vote or die. To vote is to stand for something and take action; if one never stands for something or never takes action, then one’s opinion is just as helpful as that of a dead man’s.
“If you do not vote, you are just letting other people make your decisions for you,” Alex Hepler, senior, said.
Hepler, who turned eighteen in February, perceives his ability to vote as an incredible right. He believes that if people do not vote, they are throwing away the power to make a change.
“If we do not put in any effort, then we won’t see any results,” Hepler said. “If we do not do anything, nothing will get done.”
By “we” Hepler is referring to the younger generation of America. In political terms, the “younger generation” is the voting demographic of ages 18-29. Year after, the 18-29 age demographic has the lowest voter turnout in presidential elections. We are the future, and we need to be involved with the political system to make sure our stances on the policies and laws being passed now are heard. The price of college, health care, and social security are just a few of the issues that affect the younger generation.
For elections, age is broken up into the groups 18-29, 30-44, 45-59, and 60 years and older.
“If the younger generations had as high of a voter turnout as the other age groups, then politicians would have no choice but to listen,” Terry Geoghegan, government teacher, said.
Geoghegan, who before his late twenties did not find politics to be overly interesting, now acknowledges that while his actions in politics do not make the difference, his actions do have the power to make a difference. Geoghegan now dutifully plays his roll in the government.
“Eventually I became more politically aware of myself and the fact that I have a voice,” Geoghegan said. “Our country does not ask much of its citizens. The least I can do is vote and resist trying to get off jury duty.”
Kelly Poduch, senior, reached political awareness at an early age. Poduch has always been interested in politics and plans on majoring in political sciences in college. The fall of 2012 will be the first time Poduch can vote in the presidential election, and she firmly plans on doing so.
“Voting is part of being an American,” Poduch said. “Voting is what we have always fought for. It is part of our country’s tradition.”
Picture a government where the younger generations had just as much of a say in politics as the other age groups. If there were just as many people in the younger generations standing for causes and voting as the older generations, the government would have no choice but to pay attention to what “we” have to say. One of the problems with the 18-29 age demographic is that while it does have the power to bring change about in the government, that power is not utilized.
“We are letting people decide now what is going to happen to us later. The decisions that are being made now are going to impact the younger generations for years to come and [affect] the people who are making the decisions very little,” Hepler said. “Things have got to change.”
Change does not just mean making the effort to go out and vote. Before getting involved in politics, get informed.
Having an informed opinion does not require following all politics and politicians diligently. It is very easy to pay attention to the news and social media to find out what is currently going on in politics. Having a basis for a political view is just as important as having one. Information on current events and politics can be found virtually anywhere. It is time to exercise your rights, especially with the chance to voice your opinion in the upcoming presidential election this fall. “We are abusing our rights by not using our rights,” Hepler said. “We’ve all got to play our part in the government. Why would you live in the United States if you’re not going to exert your freedoms?”