With the first round of presidential debates approaching, now is a crucial time for students and young people all over the nation to tune into the pulse of the bloated and complex American electoral system. Unless you are a Political Science major or otherwise over-informed about the American government, chances are that you may be a little foggy on the exact process of how we elect our commander-in-chiefs. It’s all right; you’re in the majority, and Nov. 6 is coming up.
Most of you know about the Electoral College, and how there are more or less only a few states where your vote would even have any influence on the outcome of the election. These are affectionately known as “swing states”; doesn’t that sound like fun?
It’s common knowledge that Georgia is as red as the devil’s ass, and, often, voters in states that have a solid reputation of going one way or the other feel discouraged about voting because it feels like it doesn’t matter anyway. Well, it does. Voting not only determines the leader of the nation, but also a whole slew of local issues are decided by your vote.
Most apathetic citizens will cite their reason for not voting as “my vote won’t count anyway.” Well, it certainly won’t with that kind of attitude.
Georgia has such a long history of voting Republican that voters on both sides of the political coin shy from from voting. Those who would vote Republican don’t cast their ballots because Georgia is going to go red anyway, and those who would vote Democrat don’t go to the polls since they feel like their vote won’t count. I’m sure it’s easier for you to stay home that day, but there is a lot of importance in not only the popular vote, but also in the outcomes of local elections, that determine your immediate surroundings. Be a good citizen and take part in your local elections. And, at least by determining the popular vote we’ll get to see who had the most support, even if they don’t make it into office (I’m looking at you, Al Gore.)
It’s true that this election has polarized the nation politically, and most likely you have already made up your mind about whom you would vote for. So do it.
The fatalistic notion that it doesn’t matter if you vote or not is certainly not the notion that our country was founded on, and you aren’t making it any better. If you don’t vote, George Washington, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and thousands of Civil War soldiers roll in their graves. Also, your local government suffers.
However much you may think you know about the candidates, there is nothing like watching a presidential debate to reveal how these men behave under pressure, an important skill for a politician. It’s important to not just vote for the guy who’s the best at kissing hands and shaking babies, but also the guy who can clearly and succinctly argue his position on the important topics.
Ask yourself what particular aspects of the candidate’s platforms that you like, and the ones that you disagree with. If you can’t even think of any, then you definitely need to watch the debates.
Don’t have your minds made up yet; it’s important to keep developing your opinions on the election right up to Nov. 6. Stay engaged, stay informed and exercise your right to vote. If you don’t, it’s silly to just complain about the state of politics.