November 6th. November 6th. November 6th. Turn on any television or radio station; pick up any newspaper and November 6th will, almost certainly, be the main topic of discussion (that is unless ANOTHER referee makes a bogus call). The message of the importance of November 6th (Election Day in case you hadn’t figured that out yet) surrounds us everywhere and I’m struck by the lack of involvement by my peers in the 18-24 demographic in this election cycle. This election will not only shape the direction this country takes in the next four years but will shape the direction we move for a generation. So, why won’t the youth around me wake up and see this?
At the College of Charleston, we recently held a large “Rock the Vote” voter registration drive sponsored by the Bully Pulpit Series and our Student Government Association. We had music, balloons, giveaways, and massive amounts of the obligatory college event staple: FREE PIZZA! The event was a huge success registering 121 new voters, confirming the registration of countless others, and most importantly sparked discussion among students about the decision they’ll make on November 6th. After our event, South Carolina went live with online voter registration, and we were able to encourage more students to take advantage of the ease with which they can now register (with a South Carolina issued ID, of course).
Half of the battle has been fought and more of my peers are registered to vote but will they actually go to the polls? The College, Bully Pulpit Series, Rock the Vote, and countless other organizations can provide students and members of our crucial youth voting block as much information as possible but, ultimately, it’s up to us. It’s up to us to march to the polls and make our voices heard. The decisions made over the next four years will affect our lives for years to come. Whether it’s reforms to social security, gay rights, or the survival of our favorite big, yellow bird from Sesame Street; we need to make sure our voices are heard. Too long we have been called a generation of apathy and too long have we lived up to that stereotype. The time is now to change our image and reputation as the generation that doesn’t care. It’s our image, it’s our futures, and it’s our lives; now wake up and act like it! I’ll see you all on November 6th—at the polls.