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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: You can only gloat if you go out and vote

    Brian+Valencia+%2F+Arizona+Sonoran+News+Service+Two+students+leave+a+polling+place+at+the+UA+on+Tuesday.+Historically%2C+young+voters+have+had+a+large+impact+on+the+results+of+elections.

    Brian Valencia / Arizona Sonoran News Service

    Two students leave a polling place at the UA on Tuesday. Historically, young voters have had a large impact on the results of elections.

    It’s time to admit it: Our political climate is just as heated as our actual climate. But unlike our actual climate, we have a real chance to cool down the political realm.

    Every single person in our country has an opinion they believe is valid and completely unique. But in reality, everyone is repeating the same facts and ideas in different ways to either support or deny a candidate. Just by uttering the word “Trump” or “Clinton,” one would be able to incite a conversation that could last for 40 days and 40 nights. Regardless of education level, class, race or sexual orientation, every single living person in the country has something to say about this year’s political atmosphere and presidential race.

    However, does every single person vote? Educated students, like our own students here at the UA, should be aware that voting is a right that has not come easy for many. Those refusing to vote are simply feeding into the idea that we don’t deserve that right.

    Voting is a big responsibility and we should treat it so. It is our right, and duty, to research and look into each candidate that is running, in whichever race, to guarantee our vote will go to whichever person best aligns with our beliefs and vision of the country. The UA is a hub for the gifted and talented students around the country that decided to make Tucson their home. But are we doing enough to encourage all students to participate in the political process, either here or in their hometowns?

    The current presidential race has entirely consumed our news circuits. The media covers everything; Trump and Clinton can’t have a taco during a break without the world knowing about it.

    The presidential race is not the only race that is underway in our country. We must research and take it upon ourselves to truly know what is out there and who is running to control our government and its policies. If you want to change our government and have your voice heard, you must participate in every single political campaign you can.

    I made my way to my local polling place to vote in the Arizona primary elections on Tuesday. The last time I was there, I was voting for the Pima County presidential preference election. I voted for Bernie Sanders, as most college students would. This time around, I noticed something quite different in the amount of people present to vote. There was no one else there. I was literally alone, with only the presence of the election staff in the polling place. I was the only person voting.

    Granted, it was 7 a.m. Whatever time it was, this left a sour taste in my mouth. On one hand, I was happy to walk in, vote and immediately leave. But I was also scared that many people chose to not show up. Could this be because all our efforts and attention have been focused on the presidential race and all the shenanigans that have ensued from it? Were people not aware of the primary election? Do people not care about Arizona’s own elections?

    It’s easy to sit and wonder why people are not showing up to vote. But it’s extremely difficult to actually get people to wake up, drive and arrive at their polling place to vote.

    This is something I take very seriously because it’s not something that I’ve always had access to. In a way, I see being able to vote in the U.S. as a privilege that has been allowed to me, and one that I will certainly utilize. Students, and all U.S. citizens, should not abstain from voting in any election. Voting is one of the fundamental elements that make our country such a celebrated democracy. Our country is in our hands; this is our time to decide what policies our government considers important enough to implement into law.

    For many, this election in November will be their first. Just like we celebrate turning 21 years old, and the level of maturity that implies, we should also celebrate turning 18 years old and receiving the ability to be involved in politics by casting your vote. Do you want to have a history of being involved, of being a citizen who is actively thinking and deciding on your perception of what our country needs? It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just go out and vote. 


    Follow Julian Cardenas on Twitter.


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