Get involved in election process

Some Americans don’t understand the heavy responsibility that comes with voting. It’s something most people try to fit into their day as they are driving home from work, and it comes so easy to us, we forget there are people around the world who do not have this precious right.

There is a lot of negative energy coming from the younger generation towards politics and voting. They spout on and on about foreign policy, unemployment and health care rights but act as if they can do nothing about them. But they can! Every person’s vote counts. If everybody took the attitude that their one vote does not make a difference, we wouldn’t have an election. The swing states especially depend on each eligible voter participating.

The only way to see a change is to engage in the democratic process.

“Alex de Tocqueville, a great observer of the early U.S., pointed out that because of the form of government we have chosen, we, the voters, get the government we deserve,” said Sister Linda Marie Bos, chairwoman of the Mount Mary College history department.

According to Bos, if a citizen chooses not to vote, he or she is handing the governmental decisions over to others who choose to exercise the democratic process.

“If one is not engaged, your life will be run by those that are,” Bos said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 64 percent of voting age citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Only 56 percent of high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 voted, and only 56 percent of those with some college education under their belts. Only a little more than half! What a difference it would have made if 90 or even 100 percent had voted.
College students are at an opportune time in their life when we are bursting with knowledge and energy. Before getting involved in any election activities or going to the polls, wwe need to get educated! We are adults now. We don’t need to vote for a candidate just because our parents voted for the same one.

Turn off whatever reality show is most popular now and flip to the news station. Keep track of the election debates and other coverage. Track the elections in your favorite newspaper. Check out the politicians’ websites to look at their views and keep track of the reputable news sources like the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and CNN. According to Bos, www.politifact.com is a great website to verify the truth of statements politicians make on the news or to check out where they stand on a topic.

It’s such a great feeling when our aunts and uncles start talking politics at the family picnic, and we can step in and debate with a wealth of information and a strong position.

More importantly for us women, it’s time to get involved in politics beyond just stopping at the polls to vote. There might still be women who remember the days when women had to fight for the right to vote. But those days are far from over in other corners of the world. Women in Saudi Arabia were just given the right to vote last year (and still are not allowed to drive). Many women in Lebanon must prove they have an education before they are allowed to vote.

Every county offers opportunities to support a candidate. After you find the facts and pick a candidate, contact local party offices and find out what help is needed, whether it’s making phone calls or handing out flyers. Become a part of the democratic process and make a difference.

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