For a good amount of time last year, I was aboard the “I’m-Refusing-To-Vote” train. Discussions were had over glasses of wine at the dining room table at our house in Miami, and my roommates and I went back and forth discussing how our country had come to reach the condition that it was in. Different stances on social issues were taken, proposals on how to fix the economy were suggested, and empty bottles of wine collected on the windowsills, yet through it all, we failed to find a happy medium. From birth control to taxes, to God, guns, and gays – complaints could be heard around the table about the lack of a candidate who would do exactly what we wanted. “Socially liberal but fiscally conservative” is what we agreed our ideal candidate would be, yet we also questioned whether someone could fully support that stance, and if they did, if they would actually be backed by a major political party.
And so after our deep discussions (a few bottles deep, that is), we decided maybe we wouldn’t vote at all. If everyone who didn’t fully support either candidate didn’t vote, it would make a statement, wouldn’t it? Eventually, the government would have to see that the American people weren’t happy, and make some kind of change, right?
Yet as the 57th Presidential Election has grown so much closer, I have absolutely changed my mind. I thought about how, throughout our country’s history, people have fought so hard for the opportunity to vote for a Presidential candidate who best reflects their views. The right to vote was not just handed to Americans. What an insult it would be to all of those who were part of historical suffrage movements to throw away the right they had fought so hard to obtain. We owe it to past, present, and future Americans to voice our opinions and cast a vote every four years for President.
I made a status on Facebook regarding my stance on the importance of voting, and one of my friends commented, respectfully disagreeing. He said, “If you’re uneducated about either candidate, please do everyone a favor and do a little research…if not, exercise your right not to vote.” And there he does have a point. While we do have a right to vote whichever way we please, it’s also extremely important to do as my friend said and research! There are still two more Presidential debates between Obama and Romney, a debate between the Vice Presidential candidates, and COUNTLESS articles and references online for you to get some information on the views of each candidate. And if you don’t feel that the candidates from either of the major parties truly represents your views, research some of the third party candidates who are also running for office. You have a great deal of options at your fingertips once you’re inside a voting booth – just make sure you get to one on Election Day!
I encourage all of you, regardless of which candidate you support, to elect to vote.