by Almira Havic '16
Student POV Why Voting Matters
We don’t all look alike or come from the same cultural backgrounds, but we all want the same thing—a say in how our lives are impacted. In the United States, this is determined through voting. Our freedom to speak, to be heard and to choose is carried out by elected officials. Voting, whether locally or nationally, is a freedom everyone, especially millennials, must take full advantage of. It’s a right that others before us have fought for and for which some nations continue to fight.
From the student debt crisis to education reform, we, as college students, have a personal stake in these issues, and we should participate in how they are addressed. If we don’t become involved, others will make those vital decisions for us. Even if an issue doesn’t directly affect us now, we still need to exercise our right to participate in the narrative. Take taxes, for instance. If you haven’t yet entered the workforce, you may not be interested in the policies governing tax laws until you begin receiving a paycheck. Then, you’ll be more concerned about where your money is going.
Being the largest, most educated and diverse generation in the United States, millennials have the opportunity to be a loud voice in the country and thus, an influential political force. Yet, we remain silent. Too often I hear the excuse, “My vote won’t make a difference.” Right, as long as you don’t vote it never will.
But millennials represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, so our votes can have an enormous impact. Imagine the significant influence we can have on the nation’s future. We have the potential to influence the political system to reflect our interests. It’s our time to help reform current policies and shape new ones; we should not only join the conversation, we need to start the conversation.
Social media sites expose readers to an array of information and conflicting beliefs, but in order to vote responsibly we need to be able to form our own opinions regarding political issues and candidates. Just because our family or friends vote one way doesn’t mean we must conform to their beliefs and attitudes, especially when it comes to politics. It’s a poor reason to vote for a candidate.
Don’t get me wrong, if you value someone’s opinion, then ask for advice but don’t forget to do your own research too. As John F. Kennedy said, “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
We [millennials] are a curious and passionate group of individuals, and we need to channel our energy into asking questions and seeking answers concerning issues and policies. I encourage all of my fellow millennials to strive to become politically conscious, because whether we are engaged or not, politics affect us. By not voting, decisions concerning our future remain in the hands of others. We must ignite the fires within ourselves to get involved, to motivate others and let our voices be heard. Together, we can make a difference. Voting matters. Vote.