Regardless of political inclinations, members of the College community will always remember this election as a historic moment in American history. For the first time, a black man will be President of the United States.
This was also a historic occasion for some on a more personal level. For many of us at the College, this was our first chance to participate in a presidential election. We commend the College and all of its students for jumping at the opportunity.
First-time voters spoke, and they spoke loudly – the election was wrapped up well before midnight struck in a landslide victory for Sen. Barack Obama. Both candidates spoke of the need for change throughout their long campaigns, and it increasingly seems that’s exactly what we’ll need in the next four years.
Our country faces two wars, impending crises in health care and Social Security and we are in the middle of a financial crisis, the full effects of which are surely still to come.
If anyone has been on Facebook in the past week, it’s clear how involved young people have been in this election. News feeds were inundated with students announcing that they voted, for whom they voted and imploring others to vote.
Not only was this a demonstration of the fervor of college-age voters, but it showed the increased importance of the Internet. Our generation was the first to fully embrace the Internet as an emerging medium; we grew up with it.
And as we grew into adults, we learned to communicate our views and opinions with the increasingly sophisticated tools of the Internet, which in turn allowed us unprecedented access to each of the candidates and their campaigns.
This access no doubt led many of us to become personally invested in the politics of our country for the first time.
For young voters, it’s difficult to grasp the complexities of our failing economy, or divine the best strategy for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, many of this election’s issues hold particular relevance for College students and youths in general.
We may not grasp the intricacies of the credit meltdown, but we know it could affect our ability to obtain student loans and sooner than we think, start our careers. And while many of us are still covered by our parents’ or the College’s health plans, the coming changes in health care are important to anyone looking to leave home in the next few years.
This is the first election that has directly influenced and affected our generation. No longer can we hide behind our parents, content to let them make the decisions and pay attention to the issues for us.
In electing Obama, in coming out in droves to vote, our generation has taken its first steps in deciding what kind of America we’ll inherit when we leave the College. There is no doubt we’ll feel the weight of this decision immediately.