Voting is democracy’s last hope

by Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer

As the 2016 election draws to a close, the single most important day in the hectic pantsuit and spray-tan-fueled dumpster-fire that has been the last eighteen months approaches fast—election day.

It’s no secret that amongst college-aged people, an engaged, informed interest in politics is dwindling.

For a variety of reasons, fewer and fewer people are paying attention to the news when politics are discussed, fewer are forming educated opinions on policy, fewer are invested in the goings-on of their government and most shameful of all: less people are going into voting booths.

The United States of America is not a pure democracy, in fact, it isn’t even close. The structure of our democracy has so many stipulations and so many processes for operation that just based on the existence of the electoral college alone many hesitate to call it a democracy at all.

That being said, since its inception the founding fathers intended for the U.S. to be a democracy, where the masses dictate policy, and where the people make decisions collectively.

Short and sweet, a democracy works like this: a question is asked to the people, the people give their answer, and the prevailing answer is law.

The way questions are asked to the people is through ballots, and the way the people give their answer is through voting.

Given that is how a democracy works and more importantly that’s how ours works, it’s easy to see the crucial role voting plays in the function of our government. If not a single citizen was to cast a vote, our country doesn’t work, and if only one person casts a vote, the masses are not accurately represented. While the former seems jarring, the latter should be far more terrifying.

According to US Census data, only 57 percent of Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election. To be more specific, that means that only 126,144,000 out of the total 218,959,000 Americans showed up to a voting booth to re-elect the man who leads and makes decisions for the U.S.

57 percent is a deplorable percentage to represent voter turnout, and elected officials know this. They understand that a democracy is broken until all of those who live under it actively engage in it.

They aren’t the only ones who see this either, which is why over the past few weeks the Internet and TV have been stuffed to the brim with advertisements featuring celebrities, artists, politicians, and other notables urging people to vote, as this election is considered by many to be the most important election in American history.

The problem is, a lot of those ads fail to convey the full importance of voting past that one claim. Many of them feature clips of dozens of people saying “vote” repeatedly with inspirational music in the background, but they fall short in demonstrating the power of voting.

A large reason why voter turnout is so low is the prevailing notion that a single vote cannot drastically influence an election, going through the effort seems meaningless. The upsetting thing is that claim is completely true, and that’s precisely why it’s so valuable.

Your vote means just as much as a billionaire’s, even though it often doesn’t seem so. But if only the billionaire votes, only the billionaire’s opinion counts.

Frustration with the wrong people leading our country (or the wrong people running to) stems directly from only some people caring.

The minute all of us start to care about the way our country works is the minute that our country starts to work the way all of us want it to.

The United States is a collective, and not until we work as one will we be proud of what it is, and what it can be.

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