It’s easy to do nothing, this year do something
It is so easy to do nothing. Really, think about it. Doing nothing is 100% easier than doing something. So the fact that you’re even reading this should be counted as a tremendous feat of strength and commitment. The comedian John Mulaney does an amazing riff on the joys of doing nothing on his 2012 album New In Town. Mulaney says that there is no better instant joy then cancelling plans.
“It’s like heroin,” he says before moving on to a riff about kids.
Voting is one of those things people plan on doing, then end up doing nothing about it. It is so easy, especially for young people, to not vote that only 45 percent of those 18–29 eligible to vote in 2012 cast a ballot.
In a few months, we’ll have another election, perhaps you heard of it. At least you’ve been annoyed at one of your friend’s Facebook posts calling either Hillary a crook or claims about how to Make America Great Again or how Sanders lost a rigged primary. The narrative around this election has been dark since the start.
The bleak narrative of this election is leading many people to give up on voting this season. They see Clinton and Trump as a battle between two evils, and Johnson and Stein as a waste of a vote.
Spoiler alert: it’s not just presidents that are on the ballot. More immediately, there are your city council representatives, state legislators and Congressmen- all elected positions that have a direct impact on your life as a citizen. Even if you don’t vote in the presidential election, there are some other races down ballot that need votes too.
We were spoiled the last two presidential election cycles.The first election the youngest crop of voters truly paid attention to was the 2008 campaign which saw a massive spike in voter turnout among 18–24 year-olds. Instead of doing the cringe-worthy pleas to younger voters, Barack Obama seemed to genuinely care about our demographic.
Say what you will about Obama, but there is no argument that he does not inspire young people(myself included) to get involved in the political process. Candidate Obama was far different from President Obama, but for all the disappoints I felt the last 8 years, I’m proud of my participation.
This is the nature of democracy. We get to have arguments about war and peace, justice and liberty, rights and regulations, and the direction of the country. The minimum amount of commitment we need to weigh in on these decisions is going to the ballot box. We get to influence our futures for just 20 minutes of our day every four years. Sometimes our candidate wins and sometimes they lose. Sometimes compromises are made and sometimes you need to settle for progress at a slower pace than what you expect. That should only energize you more for the next opportunity to make change.
“Oh but I don’t live where I’m registered to vote!” is the common excuse on college campuses. Here is a quick solution: Below is the link to the U.S. Vote Foundation. You can check your registration status in every state, and get the form for an absentee ballot. The only work you’ll need to do off your computer is sending a completed absentee ballot form to your local election office, whose address they provide. The whole process take 5 minutes tops.
Democracy isn’t always satisfying, but participating in this grand experiment of government is a whole lot better than sitting on the sidelines throwing up your hands in disgust. It’s easy to do nothing and complain, but just this once maybe doing something would be worth the effort. It’s only your future after all.