Letter: Take advantage of chance to vote

Democracy, when it functions properly, is the single best form of government that human-kind has ever had the privilege of experiencing. Democracy should be an active dialogue between representatives and their constituents.  The problem is that the conversation has seemed pretty one-sided lately, especially in regards to the needs of college students. Our leaders simply do not prioritize our generation or the issues that we care about. The tragic fact is that we only have ourselves to blame for this problem. 

The fact is that politicians have no incentive to address the issues of young voters because we simply are not that good of voters. In the 2012 election, only 35% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 to 29 cast a ballot, and this was a record turn-out. This is an abysmally low number and a slap in the face to the very idea of democracy. With over 64 million of us, think of what we could achieve if we utilized the enormous potential political power we have: we could bring about a more equitable society, we could finally get the political momentum to take action on climate change, we could improve our education system and foster in a new era of global enlightenment, we could get our economy back to its booming potential by minimizing student debt. The point is, we could do anything if we mobilized our vast political power, but if we do nothing the status quo will persist. 

It is not enough to vote though, we have the responsibility to educate ourselves and to make informed decisions at the polls. I task every student at ISU to determine what issue is most important to them, and then to find out where each candidate comes down on that issue. For me personally, education is the most pressing issue because I recognize that investing in students is the best way to address almost any woe that a nation can face. I also realize that Steve King is terrible on this topic: he has consistently voted against giving grants to Universities and wants to decrease the amount of money that goes towards education. I have met Mr. King’s opponent, Jim Mowrer, and I can confidently say that he will keep the students of ISU on his mind if he is sent to Washington. This is just one example of one issue and one candidate, but I ask that you continue researching all the candidates’ positions on the issues most important to you. 

Voting is both our greatest right and our most serious responsibility. I implore the students of this campus to get informed on the issues they care about and to cast their ballot. Polls are open at the MU all week for early voting; it will never be easier for you to get involved. Agree with me or not, I hope you use this as an opportunity to start a conversation. When our leaders make decisions that affect your life, will your voice be heard?