As Election Day is rapidly approaching, many people are gearing up to head towards the voting booth and put in their input regarding who will represent them in the House of Representatives, the Senate and even the governor of whatever state they may live in. But one statistic that is interesting is the low projected output of “millennials” at this year’s election.
According to an article by U.S. News & World Report, the trust that millennials have in the United States is “…at a five-year low.” On top of this, the Harvard University Institute of Politics Poll found out that about only a quarter of millennials that can vote plan on going to cast their ballot in this year’s midterm elections, a surprisingly low statistic in a country where being able to pick who represents you in the government is a God-given right.
Now, it should come as no surprise that people feel disconnected to the current session of Congress, or rather the government as a whole. In January of 2013, it was determined that head lice, replacement NFL referees and even Nickelback were all more popular than Congress, which just goes to show how poor of a job Congress was doing.
Approval ratings aside, people are also not turning out to vote because they feel as if their vote does not matter in the grand scheme of everything. It is the mentality of “how can my one vote count among so many others?”
While this mentality is not often wanted in a representative democracy, people need to get involved so that they can understand that they can actually make a difference in our government.
Let me use this example, which is one that I am sure a lot of students here can relate to. If you are a lonely student at Stony Brook, either a commuter or a resident, what would you do if you wanted to meet new people or try to get involved with something?
You would show up to a club meeting, or try out a new sport, or go and talk to a stranger. You would put yourself out there and try to get involved with said club or activity.
This same principle can be shown in an effective government. For the government to actually work smoothly, people need to get involved. People have to be readily going to political events and to the polls to actually elect who will be representing them, because guess what: your vote actually does matter.
More importantly, we as a young student body have to make sure we are involved with our government. I am pretty sure that a substantial portion of Stony Brook students rely on federal aid from the government in order to go to school, or at the very least to help pay for it.
As students, it would be important for us to vote for someone who is going to try to help us, not screw us over. But if none of us actually go to the voting booth, then our say is essentially meaningless because we never put our opinion into the political race in the first place.
So next week, go the voting booth. Put in your ballot because not only is it important in the grand scheme of things, it also helps give you a sense of belonging in the government that is run for the people, by the people.