Voting: A simple act that has the potential to change the political landscape of our country.
This is especially true during the current election cycle.
Though it’s only January, this race is already shaping up to be one for the history books.
When the headlines are dominated by Donald Trump’s latest inflammatory antics (including a visit to Burlington this past January), the latest fallout from Hillary Clinton’s email scandal or the unexpected millennial groundswell of support for Bernie Sanders, it’s difficult to remain above the fray.
Nowhere is this more true than here at UVM and in Burlington, Sanders’ political hometown. It’s not surprising – Sanders has demonstrated a certain resonance with debt-laden, media-savvy college students nationwide, with the bonus allure of being a long-time fixture in the local political scene.
For example, this past Tuesday, UVM students chose Sanders over Clinton by a 3:1 margin in a mock caucus in Richard Watts’ public communications class.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say we’re living in a Bernie bubble. However, the Cynic is not and will not endorse any candidate.
When living in such a politicized environment, where the line blurs between campaign slogans and real policy, it’s difficult to step back and look at the big picture
This is where we, as students and as citizens, must step up. We must seek out thorough, balanced coverage, and choose the candidate that truly fits our values and vision for our future.
This doesn’t always happen. In the 2012 elections, only 45 percent of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted in the presidential race, down from 51 percent in 2008.
If 55 percent of eligible voters from this age group aren’t visiting the voting booth, that’s more than half of all voters under 30 surrendering their say in this country’s future.
Politics and decisions made at the national level inevitably trick down to affect each and every one of us. UVM isn’t isolated from this effect.
Voting is your unique chance to have a say in our government. Don’t let it slip through your hands by watching silently as the election unfolds.
If you aren’t registered to vote, go online and look up your residential state’s specific guidelines. Make sure you request your absentee ballot if you are too far from home to vote.
Exercise your right to vote, and vote your conscience. Let your voice be heard.