Break from the norm, become informed

Amber McKenna

 

Last week I was scared. What sparked my sudden fear? The words “What’s an Obama?” came out of a dear friend’s mouth.

My immediate response was the cliché: You kids are so busy with your texting and video games nowadays, you have no clue what is going on in the world.

But is it so far-fetched? As one who is constantly surrounded by fellow newspaper-reading mass communication majors, I might not see the average American college student for what they truly are: uninformed.

According to a study printed in the Feb. 11 issue of Time
Magazine, 27 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are bored with the
presidential campaign. This leaves 40 percent of the group only somewhat interested. Only 31 percent call
themselves very interested.

What qualifies as interested? Knowing a candidate’s name and face is great for playing “Washington D.C. Where’s Waldo,” but it’s not enough to base your decision to vote for leader of the free world.

This year there are an estimated 50 million U.S. citizens ages 18 to 31, dubbed the millennial generation, constituting nearly a quarter of the electorate. This is a huge group, and the influence of our vote has been noted by the presidential candidates.

They have MySpace and Facebook pages and have flooded our beloved Youtube with speeches, debates and campaign ads, all saying the same thing: “Listen up young-uns!”

Although we are still young adults, we are adults nonetheless. So often college students say “I can take care of myself” and “I am responsible,” but when it comes to election time the words sound similar to “I don’t care” or “It doesn’t affect me.”

You should care because it does affect you. Do not simply vote for someone based on their political party, race, sex, age, religion, favorite baseball team or hairstyle. The issues are what matter. We aren’t going to be in college forever. Once we hit those cold, harsh winds of the real world, every issue, whether we voted on it or not, will shape our futures.

Think about this: In 1994 more than 80 percent of South Africans had the chance to vote for the first time after having their views repressed for years. We have the liberty of letting our opinions be heard. Vote because you can. Vote because in 40 years when your grandkids ask you about the momentous 2008 election, you can tell them you took part in it. 

I am calling all my peers to step up. As we have seen in our own ASLC election, one vote can make a difference.

Want to be informed? Check out these Web sites:

www.rockthevote.com

www.declareyourself.com

www.GenerationEngage.com

www.votesmart.com

www.chooseorlose.com

It’s not too late! For more information on registering to vote in any state go to: www.yourvotematters.org.

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