Election 2012: It's Your Responsibility
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
As college students, we have a relentless focus on our personal future, but as Americans, we have a shared responsibility for the future of this nation. That citizenship begins by educating yourself on the most pressing issues of today and tomorrow. That’s where we come in—the purpose of this feature will be to highlight those issues that directly affect students and our future. This is merely an introduction.
Today, 46 million young people, ages 18-29 years old, are eligible to vote. That’s seven million more youth than seniors, making up 24 percent of the voting eligible population. Yet, the youth of America is a voting block mostly ignored due to the fact that only one in two actually vote, even in 2008.
For those students who call Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, or Ohio home, your vote could decide the election. Don’t forget that Bush-Gore was decided by a mere 537-vote margin.
You have the choice to enter the conversation, voice your convictions, and advocate for a better tomorrow. You have the power to move this country forward and become America’s comeback team. You can demand that business and government work together to promote growth, confidence, and ensure prosperity.
If you have yet to register, please visit
RockTheVote.org, and for out-of-state students, you can request an absentee ballot at LongDistanceVoter.org.
The challenges our country faces are not simple. And there are no quick fixes.
America is only a decade removed from the longest peacetime economic expansion in the history of the United States, but our public servants have managed to rack up more than $16 trillion in debt by funding two full-scale wars, cutting taxes for the wealthy, suffering through a financial meltdown and the Great Recession. That may be our parents’ and grandparents’ debt, but it is our burden. The expenditures charged on America’s credit card will have long-term economic impacts, and will be paid for by our generation.
The government’s fiscal irresponsibility is not the only burden taken on by college graduates, however. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that debt from student loans exceeds $1 trillion, surpassing credit card debt for the first time in history. The harsh reality for many students is that six months after graduation they must start "paying back some of their loans and build for the future," said Mitt Romney, Republican nominee for president.
Furthermore, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the United States has fallen from 12th to 16th in the share of adults ages 25 to 34 finishing their higher education. The investments we make in our human capital will determine the ability of the American worker to be competitive in a 21st-century global economy. Because we all know that "you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education," said Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, Texas and keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.
I know it is easy to allow the political gridlock and partisan bickering of Washington to discourage even the most optimistic. But we must keep faith, and have hope in the face of adversity because we are blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth. It is your democratic duty to unearth the truth as it gets buried under an avalanche of money and negative advertising and to discover for yourself the core of each candidate’s platform.
Register to vote, request an absentee ballot, take a friend with you to the polls and cast your ballot as a proud American!