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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: No excuse to reject responsibility for voting

    I’ve done a lot of volunteer work for this coming election, gathering petition signatures and attempting to register voters, specifically for the Democratic Party, in the interest of full disclosure.

    A lot of the responses are variations on, “No, I’m not interested.” It’s understandable, because sometimes people are in too much of a hurry to get where they’ve got to go, or they’re already registered.

    But, when people say they don’t vote because, “Both sides are the same, man! The system’s corrupt, man!” that fills me with rage.

    These encounters are distressing, because polls show that less than a fourth of millennials plan to turn out for this election, and this attitude is most likely why. It’s an attitude that probably stems from Generation X, specifically the stripe of said generation that fetishized mocking our broken system but refusing to do a whit about it, similarly to what Theis Duelund of Vice said in his article, “Gen X Ruined The World Too.”

    “By draining idealism of its optimistic sincerity, Generation X created a culture obsessed with methods of content delivery but disinterested in content,” Dueland writes.

    But this is a foolish outlook, because even if both sides are corrupt, people need to focus on getting things done rather than just lollygagging and wallowing in a steaming mound of self-pity. People need to vote for the side that best represents their interests.

    What is also true is that, in this day and age, people no longer have an excuse to abdicate responsibility for voting. They can opt-in to vote by mail. Don’t know how to register or how to update your registration? A quick Google search can help you find a way to register online in your state.

    Don’t know about the candidates and not sure you want to go in uninformed? Searching “Arizona Voters Guide” brings up a website for learning about candidates on the first page.

    Do you feel too self-important to accept part of the collective responsibility for the failings of our democratic system? Well, at least you’re honest.

    But we cannot accept this abdication of responsibility as a part of our generation. We’re doing so well, other than this lack of voting. All around me — or at least on my Tumblr feed — I see people of my generation rediscovering the lost arts of optimism and collective organization that were previously drowned in a sea of flannel in the 1990s.

    Just look at how students around the country participated in Occupy movements, even when they were being pepper-sprayed in the face. And at the UA, every spring semester, the Take Back the Night march is organized on campus by students and anti-rape organizations.

    But it’ll be all for nothing if people cannot leverage that political will into actual votes. People in the millenial generation need to shake off whatever apathetic funk they may have about the system and at least try to do the best with what they have, though “what they have” is liable to be better if they were smart enough to vote in the primaries.

    So, whatever party preference you may hold, register to vote today. No, don’t wait until tomorrow, you might forget. Just go online; do it now. Look up information on your representatives, and not just on a state or county level, but also even locally. Remember, if you didn’t vote, you don’t get to complain.

    Unless you’re a convict that is, in which case you probably have several very good reasons to. But, the state of America’s terrible prison system is another column in and of itself.

    —Tom Johnson is a film and television production junior. Follow him @tbok1992

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