By Rich Miller
Arts & Entertainment Editor
In 2020, politics is the single most polarizing thing in American culture. Some are obsessed with staying up to date with the latest news, while others avoid it entirely. There seems to be no end to the arguing and disagreements when anyone states an opposing opinion. This divided political climate, while not the most healthy or productive for law-making, has certainly forced people to pay more attention to what is going on in Washington and around the world.
This increased attention has had one positive quality—increased voter turnout. In 2018, the number of college students casting ballots doubled from 2014. This is particularly noteworthy because the 18 to 24 college-aged demographic has historically had the lowest voter turnout. The most common reasons for lower student turnout? 18-24 year olds move the most frequently, are the least likely to have a driver’s license and are less likely to be contacted directly by political campaigners.
If more of us vote, more politicians will be willing to listen to our generation’s wants and needs. The youngest voting demographic is often overlooked during political speeches. Why? Because we are not showing up at the polls.
We have the most to lose in elections, as laws that are made now could have extreme ramifications on our lives in the future. Voting is the fundamental duty of our citizenship, and by not voting, we are throwing away our rights and privileges granted to us by the Constitution. Using our voice to shape the social and financial issues facing our country is the least we can do as citizens.
Our responsibilities don’t stop after Election Day— being more involved with civic engagement is the single greatest thing our age group can do. Make yourself aware of the political state of our country, develop an understanding of the issues going on and get to know your representatives. These are just some of the smallest steps that all 18-24 year olds should be taking.
College students have the power to use their voices and minds to shape the future of our country. Now is more of a time than ever before to step up and let our voices be heard.