Waking up one morning, you begin the arduous process of making that first cup of coffee, throwing together some semblance of an outfit and then you look at your phone and see the headline “United States Reinstates Draft.” The realization dawns upon you that, even though you didn’t vote, you have the possibility of getting drafted. This is an extreme example of the inevitable if voter apathy among the youth continues.
We’ve all heard the objections to voting. One is that as a result of Congress’ extreme platforms, many people feel alienated because they don’t support the views of either of the parties. Unfortunately, what’s misunderstood by these individuals is that if they do not demonstrate their views through active suffrage, their opinions will continue to be ignored. It’s understood that the main goal of political parties is to win elections. Accordingly, they have nothing to gain by appealing to the views of people who will not help them win these elections. By excluding themselves from the voting process, youth are confirming the long-held belief of political organizations that they aren’t worth including in the political process.
A second objection to voting is that a portion of the population still believes their vote doesn’t really mean anything. This justification of voter apathy is nothing but circular logic. By choosing not to vote, you’re wasting your ability to participate in the political process and, consequently, are making your opinion meaningless. This, however, isn’t the full extent of the issue. Not only are you making your own opinion less valuable, you are decreasing the chance that the opinions of others in your demographic will be addressed. Nowhere is this more clearly reflected than in the youth vote.
The third major objection to voting is that the government is systemically inactive by nature, and that there’s nothing anyone can do about it. However, through representation, the U.S. government is designed to reflect the will and positions of its people. If the government is inactive, it’s simply a reflection of the will of the people. If people wanted the government to be industrious, they themselves would be tirelessly involved in the political process. The best method for expressing this involvement is through suffrage.
Far-reaching measures must be enacted in light of these precarious circumstances. Many people advocate voting as a civic duty that everyone ought to exercise. While this is a step in the right direction, it’s akin to a pile of well-meaning sand attempting to hold back the ever-rising tide of voter apathy. Therefore, in order to influence politics and make the youth voice a force to be contended with, we must extend what we view as a civic duty. It’s not enough to simply go and vote. In order to remake the political environment we must go above and beyond the status quo. Therefore, it’s not only your civic responsibility to vote, but your duty to go out and persuade others to exercise the same privilege. As John D. Rockefeller, Jr. put it, “every right implies a responsibility.”
So, if your responsibility is to influence the political process through your suffrage and your influence is being restricted by voter apathy, you have an obligation to motivate others. This election season, it’s not only the right thing to educate others, but a moral necessity.
Drake Baglietto is an LSA freshman.