Sep 172002
Authors: Ashley Wheeland

Are politics a tragedy?

That is the question that I have been looking at in my classes, and I pose to all of you. Many of my friends find politics boring. They say that they don’t vote because they don’t know much about the issues and they don’t want to.

Basically, politics doesn’t matter in their everyday lives.

So if politics are so important, why are they failing when it comes to elections? Close to half of the American population does not vote. Some reasons for this include ignorance, empathy or just plain not enough time to make it to the booth.

During Vietnam War, the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years old. The logic was that if young men could die in a war, they should be able to vote for the war. With this change in the voting demographic the statistics of voting changed, and it seemed that less Americans were voting.

So young people make up the biggest segment of non-voters. This means the population of CSU, where the average age is 21, is part of that demographic.

But I am not trying to preach to all of you about voting. Rather, prove its importance.

The members of the state government and legislature have a huge impact on the CSU community. They ultimately decide the state budget. The state budget determines how much money to give or take away from state institutions like CSU.

Many of you may have seen that funding was cut for CSU in the last budget, and that tuition was raised to account for such cuts. So voting for a state legislature member is important to us as students, because it affects our costs.

Second, voting in national congressional races is important to each of us. There is a heated race in this district for representative in U.S. Congress. It is an open seat, and because an urban, college community, Fort Collins, is included in a district that includes rural Weld County, the district has a diverse range of issues.

These members represent the district and work to get funding for the national forests, highways and other resources we all use every day. So whom we elect and send to Washington impacts our daily lives.

Last, on the largest scale is the presidential race. The last election was one of the closest in American history. The election really came down to the last few votes, and depended on the federal system of the Electoral College. It made many of us really look at our system, and it also made us look at the impact our vote could have had.

We can have a voice in our situation. Politics does matter. It is the system that regulates and rewards. It is the system that can give a voice, and at times has taken voices away. One war is looming, and Washington is calling for more military action in another. The impact of young people in voting is at its height. Some of our fellow young people are in Afghanistan. Some may have to go to Iraq.

The generation before us gave us a right to vote, to impact our own lives. We need to talk to those who represent us. And they need to be trying to hear what this segment of the American population is saying. We are responsible for speaking up, and using the political system to be heard.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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