Gearing up for the presidential primaries

Gearing up for the presidential primaries

Danielle Zukowski

2016 is here and the next presidential election is around the corner.

Individuals often forget or disregard the influence of their voice. When the mindset of, “Oh, I’m just one person, what does it matter?” becomes a communal way of life, we lose productivity in society and prospective for improvement.

Yes, OK, maybe you are just one person. But if all 300 million citizens in the U.S. think in this manner, then the political process goes to shambles. We can’t be a government of the people, by the people, for the people if the people are not participating because they fail to recognize the power they have.

Perhaps you are just one person and perhaps your one vote is just one vote, but your vote, combined with your sister’s one vote, your neighbor’s one vote, your teacher’s one vote, your friend’s one vote, your hairdresser’s one vote… they all combine to make a difference. They create a population and unite as a force of change through group influence.

Despite this collective power, many Americans do not exercise their right to vote, especially the younger demographic. The amount of Americans enrolled in higher education has increased to around 20 million, yet the participation of 18-24 year olds in the political process remains low.

The college vote is being significantly underrepresented, despite meeting eligibility requirements. Our voice is not being heard and this is a major concern, especially in the current state of America.

Some view 2016 as the most important election of our lifetime. The monstrous accumulation of issues the country faces makes it essential for our demographic to participate, because it could have tremendous effect on the state of the nation.

It is vital that we become students of our world and recognize the importance of these issues. The effects of potential policies regarding health care, education, domestic and foreign terrorism, climate change and the opportunity gap should be matters that we care about and that we create our own opinions on after well-informed research.

Even if these problems do not appear to have a tremendous immediate impact to us, our future and the future of America is dependent upon this election.

I’ve noticed a lot of my peers posting on social media supporting or opposing presidential candidates, and that’s fantastic. We’re beginning to be informed and discuss current issues.

However, it’s very important that we are gathering a wide variety of reliable information. We also need to be conscious of potential manipulation tactics used by certain candidates to gain voters.

Even more importantly, once we have critically thought about this mass of information, we need to put our thoughts into actions. We, as the college demographic, can be involved in electing a leader that will strengthen America. This will only happen if we make the vital effort of going to the voting polls.

Express your voice for representation by registering to vote either in person at your state election office or other public facilities, online if your state offers it (Michigan does not, Illinois does), or by mail through the national mail voter registration form, found on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website.

No matter how you choose to register to vote, that important action is the first step in translating your social media anger about a candidate to actual change in American politics.