Embrace the Right to Choose, But Choose Wisely
By Kevin Thomas
Director of Governmental Affairs and USM SGA Undergraduate Representative
As we approach the midway point of the semester, the Student Government elections process has begun. The results of these elections are monumental because these results will directly affect the student body and our beloved institution as a whole. The elections process is a time in which new inspiring leaders come together to compete for the right to be the official voice of the student body. Each candidate who vies for office chooses to do so because they have elected to answer the call of duty and take on the responsibility of making sure that Bowie State University's future remains bright.
During my time here at BSU, I have noticed that election turnouts in the past have been very low. I have accepted the fact that politics and governance is not very popular on our campus however, this must change. As a student, we possess numerous rights and responsibilities and it is up to us to actively exercise these rights and responsibilities appropriately. As a student leader, I communicate with colleagues on a daily basis and they relay to me their concerns. However, the majority of these same individuals fail to show up on Election Day and exercise their right to vote. Voting is one of the single most important privileges that we as students have and we often take it for granted.
It is not my goal to give a history lesson on voting but I feel that there is a need to remind everyone of the fact that not too long ago, African Americans were denied the right to vote. We must embrace the cold hard fact that if we truly want to influence change, we must be willing to start at square one: Voting. We all witnessed the power of voting with the election of the first African-American President Barack Obama. The voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election was unlike any other, especially amongst African Americans. This occurrence proves that remarkable things can happen when individuals choose to have influence in who represents them.
I have also noticed that on occasion, those who vote in Student Government elections tend to vote for candidates based on their personal relationship. Voting based on this principle is just as bad if not worse than not voting at all. I stress to you the importance of voting based on the issues and what the candidate represents, not based on popularity and/or superficial aspects.