By Elle Flock
As the date of the presidential election nears, it is nearly impossible to escape images or stories about the Trump and Clinton campaigns. The political ads, which circulate through television programs, websites, and even on social medias like Snapchat, make it nearly impossible to remain entirely uninformed of the conflicts between the candidates. As some of the most pressing issues of the time are brought to light, it grows more and more imperative that people do what they can to assure we stand on the right side of them. This prolonged exposure through the media has lead most citizens, including those in the younger generations, to form strong opinions as to which side to take.
Yet for some reason, young Americans remain fairly uninvolved in the choice of who will run our country. In the last presidential election, only 57.5% of registered voters actually showed up on Election Day, less than 19% of which were between the ages of 18-29. Why? Although it is likely only a small percentage of the population will make it to the ballot this year, 100% of citizens will be affected by the votes cast there– especially millennials and the emerging generation. Topics up for debate will largely impact not only direct aspects of our lives, such as the possibility of more affordable college and pushes for equality, but will determine the economic state and foreign policies of this country. Many young Americans can become so overwhelmed by the prospect of finding their place in this country that they neglect their duty to create a system which represents them. People allow themselves to fall into the ultimate trap: a false sense of unimportance. Admittedly, in past history, the US government has not always catered to the desires of the general population.
It is very possible that many younger citizens, raised in the midst of a recession, do not feel there is much that one vote can truly accomplish in a system which has never seemed to benefit them. However, while it may be true that no single person will determine the entire future of our government, a change of attitude can. If the idea that no effort can truly influence change in this country were eliminated, many vast improvements could be made.
Regardless of which political party one sides with or what one believes, it is the expression of these beliefs that our country stands for. Whether or not certain politicians have lost sight of this, refraining from voting will do nothing but sink America down deeper into the depths of silence; citizens have been given a voice in the form of a ballot, yet they choose not to speak up. It will forever be the easy choice to stand static, but until this country moves to change its ways, no improvements can be made.
For this very reason, it is absolutely crucial that each and every eligible citizen stand up and use his or her voice. It is impossible to create a system for the people if the people choose not to utilize it. While the election may not shift as a result of a single vote, by taking the time necessary to vote, you not only push for your beliefs, but you aid in fixing the system which has been growing more and more flawed with the passage of time. See you at the polls!