Column: Lining up for our future

Taylor Leckie

Photo courtesy Taylor Leckie
Voters wait to pick the president in Orlando Tuesday.

You have the right to vote, so why didn’t you?

Perhaps the lines were too long, and you had to get to class. Maybe you couldn’t decide who to vote for. You might feel as if you really aren’t making a difference.

Is it possible that you just aren’t a registered voter? It couldn’t be that you just don’t care, could it?

Most of these are legitimate excuses not to exercise your civic rights. Voting takes time, and electing the next president of the United States is a big decision.

If you felt as if the pressure was just too overwhelming, you were not alone. According to the Washington Post, about 12 percent of registered voters were undecided as of September in this past election.

In a country where people have given their lives for us to have the freedom to cast our ballot, it is surprising how many people don’t. My mom has a friend who is twice my age and who has never registered to vote.

And I can understand why. She doesn’t feel informed enough to select a candidate. What if she makes the wrong choice? There are a lot of people out there who do not understand the candidates’ platforms. Is it better to vote for no one than someone who you know nothing about?

Educating yourself on the people running for government positions is a very smart thing to do. According to cbsnews.com, 25 million people could be voting without the proper knowledge. This means they think they are voting for one thing when they are actually voting for something else.

You cannot base your judgment on television ads or the fact that the presidential candidate left a message for you on your voicemail. It takes time and effort to research the amendments and nominees, and many people do not want to put forth the energy.

Some think it might not matter who they vote for. After all, you are just one person. Let’s not forget that it only takes one person to change the world. Think of activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., whose actions regarding equal rights set forth a revolution. He was just one man who convinced millions to make a difference in this world.

Then there could be the fact that you never registered to vote. The high school recruiters missed you somehow when they were signing 18-year-olds up during lunches. You missed the draft. Once out on your own, do you even know where to go to register? Try your friendly Internet. All you need to do is submit an application to the elections supervisor. But the most difficult part is deciding with which party you want to be affiliated.

The fact that you just don’t care cannot be counted as a legitimate excuse. Of course, you care.  You just may not think you do. You would care if the government took over all of your rights and limited your decision-making process.

People risk their lives every day to escape such tyranny. Could you imagine waking up each morning being told what you can and cannot do? That’s why most of us moved away to college.

You have been given the choice to decide your future. Be smart about it. Investigate it further. You might be surprised at what you discover about our country and yourself. Look at it this way, if you are lucky, you have another four years to prepare yourself.

If you still don’t feel you’re ready to make this kind of decision, just know there are millions of others out there who will do it for you. They did it this week when re-electing Barack Obama as our president.

They proved the lines are never too long to affect our future.

Email Taylor Leckie at [email protected]