Column: Make a difference, vote for your future

Maya Peirce, Co-Editor

If you’ve taken American Government, you know the schpiel. Government is important, and if you can vote then you should. But honestly, who really buys that? We’re just kids, right? How could our one vote change anything?

All across the country, young people are feeling discouraged about the upcoming election and asking the same questions. They’re probably right, too. I mean, how do we expect to make a difference if we don’t make the effort in the first place? It’s time to stand up to the stigma that young people don’t vote and realize that our voices count for something.

I don’t understand why people don’t vote. We’re given a chance to improve the society so many are bent on criticizing, yet we let the opportunity pass by like it’s the government’s fault. Government, or at least the parts we don’t like, can’t change unless one of us takes the first step in advocating not only our beliefs, but also ourselves. We are given an opportunity that so many others in the world are deprived of, and it disgusts me to see people not care about the outcome of our future.

Our function in the democratic system isn’t a right, but a luxury in a way. There are so many people around the world who can’t control their own lives because they don’t have a say in who makes those decisions. It’s our duty as young adults to fulfill that expectation, to take ownership of our futures and those that follow us. We have a chance to show older generations that we care about our well-being and future, and there’s no reason we should ever let that slip through our fingers.

There was a time when some of us weren’t able to vote. Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and all of the rights activists of history fought tooth and nail for the voices of minorities like women and African-Americans to be heard. When they won the vote, it was a milestone for a fair and developing democracy. Now, for some, it’s become a nuisance. I find it incredibly disheartening to see young women and other minorities pass up the opportunity that many risked their lives for to get.

If you’re eighteen, get out there and register to vote as soon as possible. If you’ve still got a few years, then mark the date on your calendar. Know what you want and do the research. Mark down the candidate that you believe in, not the one your friends and parents might have pressured you into choosing. It is imperative now more than ever that we take the reigns of our future and not let others decide it for us.