It’s more than a privilege, It’s a responsibility.
Americans have an implied right to vote as stated in the 15th, 19th and 26th Constitutional Amendments that prohibit restrictions on voting based on race, gender and age.
But, there is something equally important to consider when it comes to voting, and self-governance, and that is the ethics involved with one’s privilege to have a voice in how his or her country is run.
There are numerous studies on the behavior, psyche, assets, liabilities, likes and dislikes of Generation Y, but one of the most dramatic displays of Gen Y power occurred during the 2008 Presidential election in which the youth vote was one of the key factors in the election of Barack Obama. Moreover, there are conflicting reports regarding the impact on the 2012 Presidential election: some believe that there will be a smaller turnout of Gen Y voters this election as compared to the 2008 election, while other reports indicate that there will be a larger turnout.
A recent Forbes article suggests that Gen Y is too jaded to vote. Having worked with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of college and high school interns on a political campaign during the primary season earlier this year, I do not believe that Gen Y, or the upcoming Generation Z, is jaded. I think the case is quite the opposite. But, I do believe that young people are not always aware of how important their votes are or how much power they can wield at the ballot box. It’s up to those who do comprehend the power of the vote to spread the word.
And that brings us to another point: How much do a college education and other factors impact one’s outlook on voting and other forms of civic engagement? According to a USA Today article published in 2006, quite a lot.
Finally, young adults traditionally have not placed voting high on their lists of priorities. As a 2008 Time article states, “For generations, older voters have been making decisions for young people, who stayed away from the ballot box.” As you are already making decisions for yourself, why would you abdicate your decision-making voting power?
If you have already voted or plan to vote today in the 2012 election cycle – for not only President but also for your Congressional, state and local representatives – kudos for stepping up to one of your most important responsibilities. If you have not voted and do not intend to vote in this election, consider seriously whether the time has come for you to start making your own decisions regarding who will be representing your values and interests in Washington, D.C., as well as in your home state and community.
In planning your future and empowering yourself to pursue your educational, professional development and career goals, you must use one of your most important tools, the ability to cast your votes for those who can help you to succeed.
For those of you who intend to vote but have not done so yet, do whatever it takes to get to the polls today. Don’t let others decide who will govern your lives and dictate your future.
Until next time,