Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One single, little tiny snowflake isn’t scary. Ten snowflakes probably wouldn’t even make the weather forecast. A million snowflakes, all different in their very own way- I think that might make the news. A million snowflakes may get noticed, but 42.8 million snowflakes… that could change things. Maybe some slippery spots on the road, pulling out your favorite scarf to keep your neck warm, some rosy cheeks; all distinct possibilities when 26.9 million snowflakes team up and decide to make a difference.

According to www.youthvote.org, there are 26,917,473 people between the ages of 18 and 25. That number sounds big, but only about 59.9 percent of the people falling into that category are actually registered to vote… taking us back down to about 16.1 million registered voters between the ages of 18 and 25. That’s a pretty big difference. How much of a difference can 16.1 million snowflakes make? Not as much as if those other nine something million snowflakes joined the fight.

We all know them, the people who just don’t bother to register to vote because “they can’t make a difference.” And, “the presidential election isn’t decided by the popular vote, it’s the Electoral College that decides.” There are very few examples of the Electoral College going against the popular vote, and the presidential election is not the only election taking place. Excuse me while I roll my eyes and point out that candidates running for offices are now more interested in young voters, simply because they have been showing up more in polls and are generally more progressive in their views for the country and where they would like to see it go in the future.
The future of our country is important to us as young people, and that very idea is catching on.
Candidates see it, the news media sees it, researchers see it, and even P. Diddy sees it. Vote or die, right? Why are so many of us youngsters still choosing to be ignorant? Arm yourself with knowledge; arm yourself with the power to change things.

The most important things in getting young people involved are to not only register to vote, but to get them to show up in the polls, and to letting every voter know how much of a difference each their little vote can make. If you don’t agree with certain pieces of legislation that may tread on your civil rights, go vote. If you’re worried that your city council would be going in the wrong direction if a certain candidate is elected, go vote. You can’t change policy by simply griping about it. You must take action!

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “be the change that you want to see in the world.”
According to www.democraticyouth.org, if young people had voted in the 2004 election, 11 states won by Bush would have been won by Kerry. That’s huge. If you don’t like the current administration, think about that for a second. Where were you, young voters? I was there, where were you? People falling into the 18-25 age bracket… I’ll let you think about that.

The youth of America will have to deal with the results of government longer than the baby boomers lose their votes, so keep your interests in mind as you elect our officials. Not only presidents, but senators, representatives, mayors, even school board members. “Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today,” John C. Maxwell hits the nail right on the head. We must take the initiative to think ahead and pave the road for ourselves.

My vote is no more important that your vote, but together we can make two voters. Two voices. Our two voices are twice as loud as the voices of the people who can’t be bothered today to make it to the poll, or to fill out their absentee ballot. They’re silent now, but when decisions are made that they don’t agree with, they’ll be loud. Maybe even louder than our combined voices, but don’t worry, we made our voices heard when it mattered the most.

As the political climate in this country changes, force lawmakers, decision makers, and the people in power wear their heaviest coats because of the snow. Snowflakes can cause people to change their behavior, but only if the snowflakes band together to wreak havoc on the roads, stick together to make snowmen, and cause you to wear your sunglasses during the wintertime because you can’t escape the brightness of all those tiny snowflakes.

- Lacey Earls, ODP Intern

2 comments:

LT said...

I agree! If our age group would vote for offices like they vote for the next American Idol, we could be a lot of snowflakes that make a difference!

Anonymous said...

I Agree! Now if we can get people to vote like they vote for the next "American Idol", we could have a lot of snowflakes to make a difference! Good Point!