Assistant Editor’s Log
Don’t Let Apathy Stop Your Vote
By Auburn Mann
As the fall semester begins, we find ourselves amid a rabid political season that could potentially influence the country’s direction for decades to come. Four years ago, the nation was in abuzz, as a bi-racial senator from Illinois stood on the verge of becoming the first non-Caucasian male elected President of the United States of America.
Since the 2009 presidential inauguration, the Obama administration has overseen the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (known as “Obamacare”), a passage of the $787 billion stimulus package, the death of Osama bin Laden, concluded the war in Iraq, the significant financial assistance with the national state education in this country with the expansion of Pell grant spending, and not to mention the unprecedented investments into historically blacks institutions.
However, since the last presidential election cycle, the enthusiasm has gradually subsided. Where in 2008, crowds would be in tens of thousands, four years later, the size of the crowds are slightly more modest. It’s not that the public’s opinion on the current executive branch has altered that dramatically, as the polls indicate that the Obama-Biden ticket is still in the lead over Romney-Ryan duo. Still, there is the reality of bipartisan resentment over the threatening economy; this is at least partially a result of sheer apathy, which in these close circumstances is lethal. Apathy among youth voter prevailed during the mid-term elections. Consequently, with the absence of the novelty factor, Republicans took over the House of Representatives and further gridlock ensued.
As the saying goes, all politics is local. Although city, county and state elections may lack the apparent glamour of the national arena, they are just as important, if not more important, due to the fact that they immediately affect our lives. From the safety and cleanliness of our neighborhoods, the quality of our school systems, the slow response to a power outage, the traffic, and myriad other issues, all are local issues that directly affect our local political participation.
The national elections are only held every four years. For the most part, you will be voting for candidates in local races rather than for the next head of state in the next four years. But don’t let that become an excuse not to get involved. Participation doesn’t have to cease after casting your ballot. Participation means attending county council meetings, contacting your congressional representatives or city council member, working at the voting polls or campaigning and protesting.
Members of Congress directly impact your district but their political inclinations can cumulatively affect the country. Just ask the party that currently holds the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives about how its influence has affected the Obama administration.
As the French adage goes, “if you don’t do politics, it will do you,” and that is what will happen if we slack off again. Even though the honeymoon period is over, we have a man who has sub-Saharan roots, and a name to prove it, in charge of the executive branch of this nation. Even though the nation has been slowly (slower than some may have been hoping for) climbing out of deep recession, it’s not over. There is still another major hurdle we have to clear this November to keep the momentum moving forward. Yes, we already have had four years of someone of Obama’s pedigree, but the mission should now be to keep him there.
So please, this is not the time to curb your political enthusiasm, especially if you come from a demographic that has historically been disenfranchised. Your predecessors literally paid for these rights in “blood, sweat and tears.” So please exercise your right to vote.