|Yup, that's the real ballot, currently en route to Pennsylvania.|
As a Political Science major, I often feel as though I'm supposed to be voting, and helping other people vote. In reality, it's probably the other way around; I began studying politics because of my preexisting interest and involvement. But whatever the reason, I do feel compelled to help encourage participation in the democratic process. Voting, after all, is one of the easiest ways we have of shaping world history.
Studying abroad this semester is teaching me a lot, but one of the things I've been surprised with already is how prominent a role the United States seems to play in world affairs. I suppose I always assumed a large bias in the American education system, such that, in reality, the U.S. wasn't as influential and important to those living outside it. But here in Britain, at least, students follow the U.S. presidential election, talk about actions the U.S. military does or does not take, and feel the impact of U.S. economic shocks to a highly globalized system of world trade. Or, at least, that's what they talk about in my "War & Justice" and "International Political Economics" courses. There may be a sampling error there.
|"We choose to go to the moon..." - JFK|
We can't know what kind of big, world-changing decisions the next U.S. President will make. But there's more than just the presidency at stake. I just voted for U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressman, Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer, and State Representative. And there are plenty of small, local decisions that each of those people are going to make, affecting the future of gay rights, the death penalty, clean energy... the list goes on and on.
If you've ever said, "This is stupid, why don't they do it like such-and-such", now's your chance to put someone in office who can do things a better way. If you've ever thought, "This isn't fair!", now's your chance to help make it fairer. If you've ever had any opinion, at all, at any time, please: vote.
It's not just about changing the outcome of an election. When your local representative goes to the state capital to decide whether or not to ban gay marriage in your state, or to fund a college grants program, or to increase the penalties of drunk driving, that representative has access to voting data. He can see how many college students voted, how many women voted... and even how many of them voted for him. And those numbers just might have an impact.
It's not just about changing the minds of our leaders, either. When we participate, we become a part of history. We become the trend that sweeps the nation, turning the tide of the country's attitude, if not in this election alone, then as a rising force over a series of elections.
So I'm asking everyone I know to vote. And I'm going to be posting some pretty snazzy reminders on Facebook. And maybe, just maybe, a few extra people will vote in this election.
|(example of a snazzy voting reminder)|
Of course, some people still think that their one vote doesn't matter. In fact, an estimated 90 million Americans will think that their votes can't make a difference on November 6th.
I think that's kind of funny, really. I mean, I'm no Math major, but what do you want to bet those 90 million votes would make a difference?