Political apathy is your own fault

Jordan Jacobo

Last week, I was eating a hurried lunch in Dillin Hall with a group of my friends when one of them turned to me and said, “I don’t think I should vote.”

Of course I was appalled. Not vote?

“It’s your duty,” I told her.

She didn’t seem interested. My heart dropped. I didn’t know what else to say. I fear that she’s not the only one who feels this way.

In the midst of two campaigns increasingly concerned with mudslinging and a travelling press corps incessantly analyzing the horse-race, young voters are becoming disillusioned.

What began as messages of hope and leadership have devolved to little more than campaigns based on doublespeak and half-truths, and democracy has suffered.

College students—that means you—are apathetic when it comes to politics. With campaigns based on glamour and rhetoric, the issues have been buried, and so has the magic of the election.

My friend told me she didn’t feel qualified to vote because she wasn’t informed. So much for the 24/7 news cycle.

It is a sad day in America when our citizenry doesn’t know what this election is about. No, it is not about Paris Hilton and “lipstick on a pig.” It is about issues.

The economy. Energy. Social Security. Healthcare. Two wars in the Middle East. Do you have an opinion? Do your research.

It is not enough to look up commentary on Digg or watch parodies on YouTube or join the Facebook group. Students today are a product of a vain culture that cares more about what you broadcast then what you believe in. It is time for us to change that.

You say one vote doesn’t matter? It seems too many students have that opinion. In the 2004 presidential election, only 46 percent of the 25 million U.S. citizens age 18-24 voted. That means more than 12 million non-voters were our age. In case you need a refresher, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by fewer than 4 million votes that year. This year’s race between Barack Obama and John McCain could be even closer.

As a citizen of this country, it is more than just your responsibility to vote; It is your lifeblood. The vote is what keeps your freedom ensured, if only for one day every four years.

In the Information Age, saying you do not know about the issues only means you have not looked yet. Take democracy and this country into your own hands and care about what happens on election day.

Do your research. Look up each candidate’s policies. Do some fact-checking (politifact.com and factcheck.org are great resources). Watch the debates and not just the post-debate analysis.

For the love of Thomas Jefferson, don’t vote with the crowd. Make up your own decision. If popular culture was a political party, this year’s ticket would be made up of Lauren Conrad and Dramatic Chipmunk.

All this country asks of you is that for one day, for one checkmark, you think for yourself to vote and make a decision that you can stand by.

Here’s a challenge to every student reading this: Register yourself and get three other friends to register to vote then get informed and then cast your ballot and make your voice heard from McMinnville all the way to Washington, D.C.

Do you think you could take the time off from watching “Friends” reruns to do that?

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