Get involved during election season

By Joe Palmer

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the September Slump.

It’s that special time of an election year when everyone who isn’t a diehard politico or wannabe correspondent tunes out all things politics. The primaries came and went and the conventions fizzled out with few memorable moments. September is a month in election years that is often ignored, but I urge you to keep your head in the game.

October is only a few weeks away, which means debate season is approaching. This last push to November can be a crucial time for how the elections will take shape and it’s a shame to miss out.

September is a month of hard campaigning and lofty speeches. It is a time of promises, promotions and provocations. As involved voters, it’s important to do our best to keep candidates honest and on track. Nothing in America changes without a passionate and involved electorate, and this year is no different.

College students need to get involved now more than ever. Whether Democrat, Republican or whatever, it is vital to take your vote seriously.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that during the 2008 election, 49 percent of all eligible voters aged 18 to 24 actually voted. It was the biggest boost in turnout of any age group. Alongside that, the Pew Research Center reported that voters aged 18 to 29 accounted for 18 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 election. Imagine how big of a difference our generation could make if we all took 10 minutes out of Election Day to make an informed and educated vote.

All I ask, and it’s not an unfair request, is that you take the time to learn why we vote, and why you vote the way you do. I have my views, and you have yours. So long as we both know why we have them, this country will become stronger. Watch a debate, read a paper or attend a lecture put on by the Political Science Department. Do whatever it takes to make sure that when you enter that booth on Nov. 6, you know just how important your vote is.

I understand that voting isn’t glamorous, nor is it a whole lot of fun. Sitting through a two hour debate may bore you to tears, and watching a stump speech may put you to sleep. I beg you to endure, though, and keep your head held high as you know you are the foundation of the most influential government in history.

Vote. Do it to recognize the power of the people, do it to recognize all those who have picked up arms to defend your right to do so, and do it so future Americans have the same opportunities that we have.

Voting is a precious gift, one that is not, nor has ever been, guaranteed to any people on Earth. To this day, people revolt and fight for the ballot. Let’s not take that for granted.

Learn, grow and participate. You’ll be glad you did.