Don't throw away your shot


Now more than ever, our country finds itself in a precarious state. Taking a look back at the past two years shows us a pattern in voting, one where minority groups have been able to do significant amounts of damage. Only 37 percent of those eligible in Great Britain voted to leave the European Union, yet the referendum passed with 51.89 percent of the total vote. The case is made even stronger by the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump was able to win despite having only convinced roughly a quarter of eligible voters to support him.

What is causing these problems? Why does voter turnout leave something to be desired, especially in the United States? This is the constant conundrum of our democracy.

Some of those who do not vote believe that they are retaining some sense of superiority, that they’re protesting by not voting. If you are one of those people, you’re fooling yourself. Nonvoters aren’t protesting anything, all they’re doing is putting the lives and futures of the population into the hands of politicians that probably don’t even want them to vote. It’s obvious what can happen when people decide to protest by actually voting; we’ve seen it in Alabama and Pennsylvania. Majority red districts are voting in Democrats. It’s quite obvious that voting matters.

Voting is the best opportunity that most people have to actually try and influence the outcome of an election or get a say in who we have representing us. The right is so basic, yet in every election, millions of Americans who are eligible don’t vote.

That’s not to say apathy is the only problem, however. Since the foundation of this country, people have been suppressing the votes of others. It’s been an American tradition since the nation’s earliest days. Failing technology and an increasing sense of political cynicism also contributes to lower voter turnouts in the country. In the end, however, the biggest obstacle to an increased turnout is Americans’ own sense of powerlessness.

The future of America is in the hands of its citizens. With more people voting, it would change the very structure of our party system, allowing different parties with different platforms to come to rise. It would change who gets to tell our story. You can sit there and complain about the state of the nation as much as you want. Suck it up and get out and vote.