Just about everyone I know has an opinion regarding politics, and in my experience, no one is happy. “We need change.” “We need this to end.” “We need to start over.” It’s common rhetoric, and I happen to agree with it: we do need change. We do need to get rid of some of the silly, frivolous laws (and politicians) peppering our government. I like the United States on the whole, but I also think it’s a long way from perfect and does a lot of things wrong. I voted as such a couple days ago at the LSC.
And yet for all the complaining, for all the calls for change, voter turnout was ridiculously low this midterm election; a single piece of legislation was changed; and, well, Cory Gardner is our new senator.
I’m one of those who feel that if you didn’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about the government. You’re not obligated to vote, and you can still have your opinion, but if you feel that things are going poorly (or could be going better), why didn’t you vote? It took me about 5 or 10 minutes, including the time it took to sign in at the voting booth in the LSC, and I got a say in the direction the country is going. Midterm elections typically show voter turnout below 50 percent, and this year was no exception. That means that the bill to label genetically modified food so you know what you’re eating failed, the bill that would tax gambling to improve school funding failed and Cory Gardner was elected based on less than half of Colorado’s opinion.
You may not agree with my opinion that all of these things will negatively impact Colorado. And I by no means think that just because legislation is on a ballot, we should vote for it (I’m thanking the stars that Amendment 67 didn’t pass, which would’ve made anyone who ever conducts an abortion ever, for any reason, a murderer in Colorado). But if you’ve ever complained about genetically modified food, school funding and performance, or subjects like legalizing gay marriage and raising the minimum wage (both of which Gardner opposes), then go out and vote about it. I know lots of people who want change regarding these issues, and those issues were right there on the ballot, waiting to be voted for.
And yet we failed to make a difference when we could. We voted to leave things the way they were before, to continue complaining without actually doing anything about these issues. Sure, some of these bills have valid opposition because they were written so sloppily — the fear that labeling genetically modified foods would result in a tax increase was not adequately addressed in the bill itself. And sure, if you don’t want any of these things to change, don’t vote, or vote no on them. But if you want to make a difference, as Colorado did in legalizing marijuana, and if you feel we can create a more perfect union, prove it in the voting booth in 2016.
Collegian Columnist Dan Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter by @danriceman.