You can’t spell apathetic without pathetic
Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Last Wednesday night was one of the most important nights of the year for our country. At 9 p.m., for the first time this election season, the two presidential candidates finally squared off in person for the entire world to see.
They finally had the chance to directly question each other’s motives, ideas and platforms in front of citizens across the country.
Yet, while this monumental occasion aired live on television – on at least five of the major news channels and live-streaming websites – my roommates gathered in the living room to chat loudly, surf the Internet and watch The X Factor.
I watched the debate by myself in bed.
If you’re reading this and you’re surprised by my anecdote – you shouldn’t be.
Since this election season began, I’ve heard too many people whose opinions I respect state they don’t plan to vote in the upcoming election. I’ve basically developed an aversion to social media after witnessing one too many people brag about their apathy, claiming they’re “sorry, not sorry” for not voting.
To these people, I’m officially stating that I am sorry, so sorry, for you.
The ability to vote is essentially our country’s “claim to fame.” People in other countries die every day fighting for the right to voice their opinions, while their respective government abuses them and takes advantage of their powerlessness.
Our country fights to try and “protect democracy,” but doesn’t the effort seem kind of futile if people in our own country don’t even value their rights?
It especially kills me when I hear females claim they don’t plan on voting. In 1913, Alice Paul was imprisoned for protesting for the right to vote – hell, the woman went on a hunger strike in jail as a symbol of her passion for the cause.
Something tells me that if she were aware that she starved herself all those years ago just so women today could spend election day “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” she’d have been a little more likely to nibble on something.
The worst part of it all is that virtually none of the arguments against voting are legitimate.
If you’re not at home and you need to apply for an absentee ballot, the process of attaining one is really not that excruciating. The most effort it requires is physically sending your ballot in the mail and if sending mail is too intense for you to handle, you have bigger problems than voting in an election.
I have the least amount of sympathy for this argument because, most often, the people who complain about this “inconvenience” would gladly jump through hoops for the noble cause of attaining a fake ID in order to buy alcohol illegally.
Don’t think you know enough about the candidates to vote? I have one word for you. Google.
In a world where our lives are so dependant on the Internet, I think the problem isn’t that people can’t find the information necessary to educate themselves about the candidates – the problem is that it would require a little extra effort and a couple of minutes off Facebook (a painful thought, but I promise it’s not life-threatening.)
The most understandable reason for not voting is the sentiment that one’s vote really won’t make a difference in the election. I understand New York is pretty much destined to vote Democrat for the remainder of time, but please don’t fight me on why you think Mitt Romney is the solution to our country’s problems and then refuse to get off your couch and show your support for him in the only way that actually matters.
You live in America. You have the ability to do something that people in other countries literally kill for. Your vote matters and even if not on paper, it matters in theory. It could be argued that my vote as a Democrat won’t matter either in New York, since my candidate will most likely win regardless of whether I show up to the polls. But helping my candidate win is half the reason I plan on going.
I’m going to vote because I can.
I know that political banter seems too dense to understand at times – trust me, as far as knowledge ability, I’m no Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity either.
I may have a lot to learn, but the point is that I know these candidates’ decisions will affect me if they don’t already, and I think it’s important for our generation to be aware of our surroundings and of the climate of the country we live in.
Once upon a time, UB was a turbulent campus. Ellicott Complex was designed specifically to prevent riots from forming. Yet today, I can’t imagine anything that would incite even partially riotous feelings from my peers.
Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you owe it to yourself to voice your opinions. And if you don’t take advantage of the right to do so on Nov. 6, I kindly ask that you keep your opinions to yourself for at least the next four years.