I just achieved one of many life milestones this past week. I filled out an application to renew my license since I will soon be 21 in less than four weeks. This is a very boring process for most until the day comes for you to renew for your over 21 license. I think most people would agree that turning 21 is one of the most exciting birthdays. In addition to my name, address, and an eye test, my license renewal came with some additional decisions. The two big grown up decisions were one, to become an organ donor and two, registering to vote.
I opted to become an organ donor and to register to vote as a member of the Independent party. Choosing to register to vote really felt like a big step towards adulthood to me. I think I found that to be one of the most exciting parts to my license renewal. I missed being able to vote in the last election by four days. I turned eighteen the tenth and the presidential election was the sixth. Therefore, I have spent the last four years anxiously awaiting the day I’d be able to finally vote in the upcoming presidential election.
I first became interested in politics when I was fourteen years old in ninth grade. This was when Barack Obama was running for president the first time around. I remember how intense the campaign was because it was likely we’d have our very first African American president in history. Even though I couldn’t vote, it was at this time that I realized just how important politics are to our everyday lives.
Many people, especially young college aged people, tend to think politics aren’t relevant. I couldn’t disagree more with this ideology. High School and college students need to realize that we are the future. Now is the time where we lay the groundwork for the future world we want to live in. Every aspect of politics has the possibility to affect our lives in some way.
I would encourage and tell any UC students to start jumping in and start following the 2016 Presidential race, if they haven’t been doing so already. We recently had our second Republican debate run by CNN on September 26th. Two days ago we had our first Democratic debate. Both debates featured all republican presidential candidates and democratic presidential candidates.
A variety of issues such as women’s rights, civil rights, gun control, health insurance, immigration, foreign policy, and many other pertinent issues were debated among the candidates. If you happened to miss them (like me) here is the link to the full video of the second republican debate that took place on September 16th http://www.utica.edu/student-blogs/wp-admin/index.phphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehRCd7f5RJc. The full video link to the first democratic debate is http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2015/10/video-watch-the-full-cnn-democratic-debate/.
I would encourage my peers to at least watch thirty minutes of each debate. If someone has never really followed politics it’s important to hear out both sides on their beliefs of each issue. Some people may like more beliefs and values from one party verses another. Some people may agree on an issue with one party and then agree on a different issue with another party. All of this is okay as long as you educate yourself on both parties and the present day issues being addressed by them. What is not okay, is not following the election, blindly voting on a candidate, and then complaining when you don’t like that candidates policies that you voted for.
Voting is a privilege that was fought hard for everyone to have the right to have. For centuries this privilege was not allowed to African Americans and Women. To this day there are many other countries that do not grant this privilege to their citizens and who do not have a democracy in their country. Every person young and old needs to start taking a stand on the issues that are important to them and start investigating a candidate that they believe will best represent these issues.
Anyone over the age of eighteen can register to vote. Registering to vote can be as easy as going on the internet and giving your name/address and picking a party that best reflects your interests. In addition to voting for President, one should also follow and vote for candidates in smaller elections. Voting for mayors, house representatives, and senators can have just as much of an impact on your life as voting for the president. Please everyone, take the grown up step and register to vote because not voting is just as strong of a statement as voting for the candidate that you like the least.