Voting apathy: detrimental to your rights

Don’t let voter apathy rob you of your voice

Maybe they were too busy binge-watching one of their favorite television programs, or catching up on what everyone’s doing on social media to get out and vote in the 2016 election. Maybe they’re willfully ignorant, or privileged enough to not be politically involved at all.

Whatever the reason is, voter apathy is at least partly responsible for where we are today: stuck with a childish, xenophobic, sexist, racist, bully holding the highest office in the nation, while the administration does his bidding.

In the 2016 presidential election, an estimated 55 percent of voting age Americans turned out at the polls, according to CNN Politics Video Producer, Gregory Wallace, in his Nov. 30, 2016 article, “Voter turnout at 20-year low in 2016”. But that begs the question, what were the other 45 percent of voting-age Americans thinking? Surely they weren’t considering the people that this administration has consistently disparaged and marginalized.

Considering the impact of the administration on those around us, we are so lucky to attend an amazing school, with diversity being one of its core assets; “appreciation for diversity” is written into the Skyline College mission statement and we even have a Dream Center that helps people with immigration issues.

We get to interact with people from every imaginable background, people we otherwise might not have the opportunity to meet. Skyline College directly reflects the story of the great American melting pot and shows us that our greatness comes from our diversity, though the current administration would like you to believe otherwise.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice rolled back racial diversity guidelines for colleges, with United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying they “were unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper,” according to a July 3 article by Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian.

Sessions is wrong, the administration is wrong, and we’re living proof of it; right here at Skyline College. We’re choosing to better ourselves and to come together while doing it. We’re choosing to use our diversity to create a greater good.

All we need to do is to manifest that in the voting booth. If we don’t get out and vote, we’re not just giving up our voice; we’re letting everyone else speak for us. We’re letting people, who may or may not share our values, vote for and legislate for us, and there’s more to consider.

There are people who don’t have a voice and they need us. According to a Sept. 12 New York Times article by Caitlin Dickerson, 12,800 migrant children were separated from their parents and put in federal detention camps; the highest level ever. We must advocate for them and many others.

It’s really up to all of us to do what is both our right as American citizens and our civic duty; to step away from our comfort, convenience, excuses, and privilege. It’s up to us to look around our campus and our communities and ask ourselves if it’s ever okay to marginalize people for any reason. The answer should always be a resounding “no” and we should act to make our voices heard and to inspire others. We can’t let apathy win.

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