Stettner: Students Have a Vested Interest in Voting This Election

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an election this coming November.

Actually, I’m sure it’s impossible for you to not have heard about the candidates and most of the absurdity that has occurred over the last year. With all the media coverage and the growing ridiculousness, it has become difficult to not completely tune everything out. Even as someone who is fascinated by politics, a good part of me wants ignore anything that has to do with the political scene until the election is over.

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Adding on to the absurdity, the two major presidential candidates are frustrating voters. While the turnout for this year’s election is predicted to be higher than average (following high turnouts for primaries and caucuses earlier this year), belief in actual change to the system (especially after Senator Bernie Sanders’ questioned loss to Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary) is at a low. This is fairly disturbing considering that a good portion of those who believe that are young adults who have a lot of elections and political movements ahead of them, just like all of us here at CSU.

As college students, preparing to move forward and hopefully make some kind of change in the world, we should have a vested interest in the future. The structure for that future depends on those representatives we send to office. And while we are exactly the demographic that will quickly be dealing first hand with the issues politicians debate, we are also the demographic who is becoming most frustrated, cynical, and as a result, disinterested.

Turnout may be high this coming election, but if there is no major reform enacted by officials that pleases the wider population, those people may give up and start to accept what is presented to them. This can be dangerous, as change is driven by people who disagree with the status quo. If we are not paying attention to, thinking about, and questioning the status quo, there is no way for change to occur in a positive direction. We could even move backwards.

Now this is an extreme and long-term prediction, but it is possible, considering American politics has always been subject to apathy from their constituents. This election cycle, combined with current social and political issues, is stressing on the reasons Americans demonstrate little interest in politics.

I understand, and feel, this apathy. It is so much easier to just throw it all away rather than being passionate and care deeply, only to be disappointed. However, this apathy is what has gotten us into the mess of a presidential election we have right now.

What is interesting about America and this scenario in particular is our strong democracy. We have so little care for the system, yet we have such a strong power to change it. This is especially true in non-presidential elections. Elections for Congress, state legislatures, school boards, city councils, city and state propositions, ballot initiatives, and many others are not subject to the electoral college, and ultimately have a much larger impact on our local communities and daily lives.

As the school year begins and conversations develop between our peers, friends, and even professors, keep in mind what you want. Keep in mind what world you want to live in work in, because we have an incredible amount of power to express what we want from our future.