Voting is a freedom that people in our country have fought for, for hundreds of years. It’s a freedom that we are still fighting for. Yet so many people take it for granted.
According to www.civicyouth.org, only 29 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in Colorado in 2004, and that’s one of the higher turnout rates in the last few decades. Why have we forgotten how important it is to vote, and how hard we’ve worked to be able to freely do so?
The presidential election of 2004 was my first voting experience, and I have to say that I wasn’t really impressed. With candidates like Kerry and Bush, I felt like I was voting for the lesser of two evils. A sworn Democrat, there was no way I was voting for President Bush. Don’t get me wrong, if there was a Republican who I thought could get the job done, I’d vote for them in a heartbeat, but for me, or anyone with a brain, Bush just wasn’t going to cut it.
So what has voting come to? My grandmother put it best when she said, “I can never vote for someone because I never like anyone enough. I always just end up voting against somebody else.”
I think this is really apparent in the upcoming elections. No candidate has my vote yet, and why should they? With all the negative campaigning going on, we don’t hear what any of the candidates actually stand for.
The campaigners are doing everything they can to get information out to us. I know this because I pick up the phone at least once a day only to hear some machine rambling on about what I can do to make sure some evil candidate doesn’t get put into office. I see commercials all over the TV and hear them every time I turn on the radio.
They’re obviously getting information out there; maybe it’s not how, but what, they put out that’s pushing the voters away. I’m sick of hearing what awful thing somebody did when they were a district attorney or some statement they made 10 years ago that’s going to ruin our lives if we put them in office.
I think the background of the candidates is important but I don’t think it should be the focus of their campaign.
Instead of trashing the opponent, for once it’d be nice to hear about what the candidates actually stand for. That’s assuming any of them would really admit to standing for something truly important or controversial. Candidates are so worried about telling people what they really believe, but if, for once, they actually did no matter what the stance, I would definitely respect them a lot more.
So, how does this affect you? Believe it or not, the people running for office here in Colorado will have a huge effect on your life, whether it’s about paying taxes, creating laws or more importantly, determining the cost of education.
All of these issues clearly affect the lives of college students, yet it has been rare in this election, or any election, that you hear specific stances on these and other issues. Instead, we are simply fed broad generalized statements or attacks on the other candidate’s position. The reason people our age are not voting is not that we’re lazy or uninterested; it is that the factors affecting our lives are not being addressed. Nobody’s telling us what they really believe, and it is becoming all too clear that we aren’t getting the full story.
Kaitlin Snook is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.