Feb. 1, 2016
College students walk out of their sociology and philosophy classes critiquing every institution within reach, proclaiming the good news of social justice and systematic change.
But while we equip our intellect with statistics about injustice and inequality, we fail to carry out what we could change through voting.
Instead, we settle for Facebook comment-section debates and coffee shop conversations.
Our political system relies on the power of one person and one vote. By law, your broke, malnourished and coffee-aided vote counts just as much as Warren Buffet’s and Will Smith’s.
But almost every college student I talk to disagrees.
A common belief among my peers is that their vote doesn’t matter, that it is lost in the abyss of eternal insignificance, where mandatory freshman seminar classes and eyebrow alterations dwell.
College students believe in the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot (1 in 292 million) more than their vote counting in an election.
We don’t think voting is necessary to go on with our lives or else we would actually do it. Students are more concerned with bubbling in scantrons than ballots.
Maybe our voice doesn’t feel heard. Maybe our interests are being trampled on by old white men in D.C. Or maybe we were never concerned about our interests being represented in the first place.
All it takes to vote is being registered, a small amount of time out of your Tuesday and a photo ID.
The beauty of the upcoming general election is how two concepts might get us off our couches in the middle of Netflix and chill: Donald Trump becoming the 49th president and Bernie Sanders raising taxes so college tuition is free.
We finally have something fearful and enticing enough to get us moving. And they both have pretty ridiculous hair.
We need to talk about this at all times of the year, because voting is not a season, it’s an attitude.
It is an internal understanding that you have power over what happens. But our power does not lie just within general elections.
As students, you have the power to vote for our own student government.
You have power to vote in the primaries, helping to determine the platform your respective party embraces.
You have the power to vote on local community leaders, or whether or not to raise taxes.
So how much of your talk about change is genuine?
Do your statistics mean anything if they aren’t glued to action?
How long does it take to buy a Powerball ticket? Because it might be just as long as it takes to fill out a ballot and put it in your mailbox.