Your vote, your future

Gryphon Gazette Staff

An average of 60 percent of eligible voters make use of their right to vote for presidential elections, meaning nearly half of those who can vote don’t. Quite frankly, this is unacceptable. In a democratic country with a government that holds inconceivable power in its hands, it is not only our right, but our civic duty to vote in all elections: presidential, state and local.

Brave Americans lost their lives fighting for your right to vote. For example. although Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated three years later, his campaigns to ensure his race could be guaranteed the right to vote led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which granted suffrage to African Americans. Susan B. Anthony devoted her life to fighting for gender equality, and because of her efforts, women won their right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

If you are living in the United States of America, the actions our next elected president makes will affect you, no matter who you are. Assuming our next president serves two terms, eighth-graders to college juniors will be affected by changes in college tuition prices and the role that standardized testing will continue to play in the college admissions process. All women will be affected by new laws regarding access to safe and legal health care, as well as the future of equal pay. Most importantly, every human being living on planet Earth is affected by climate change, and we will all be affected by whether or not our next president leads us forwards or backwards in progress.

Even if you’re not an eligible voter, you still have a voice in this upcoming election. From a simple bumper sticker on your car and expressing your opinion through social media to volunteering with a political campaign and donating money, it is our responsibility to be informed citizens and educate ourselves on the issues and the presidential candidates.

To use excuses such as hating politics, feel like your vote doesn’t matter or simply follow what your parents tell you to do is unacceptable. Find out what you believe in and form an educated opinion based on that. Especially with all of the resources for education at our fingertips, both within our school and on the Internet, it’s not okay to not care. Our next president’s actions will continue to affect you, and this is your chance to determine your future and make a difference.