T-shirt illuminates our apathy toward voting

In stores now! Urban Outfitters was selling a t-shirt that says, “Voting is for Old People” (they yanked them off the shelves this week). Frankly, I would have to say that I agree. Voting is such a pass activity. Do I want to go to the polls on Nov. 2 among the unfashionable populous? I think not.

Urban Outfitters has its finger on the pulse of our generation. Caring about voting or politics in general is something people in our age group don’t do. Take a look at the statistics. The 2000 U.S. Census Bureau reported that, in the 18-24 population, only 36 percent actually voted. Compare that statistic with “old people” who vote: 66 percent for 45-54, 70 percent for 55-64 and 72 percent for 65-74 population. Apparently, voting is for old people.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable allowing the baby boomers to represent what I think. We consider ourselves the “misunderstood youth,” but how is anybody supposed to understand us if we don’t even voice our opinions in a presidential election, let alone a state election? Besides, when was the last time you agreed with your grandmother about politics?

I know there are many of you who believe that politics don’t matter – that voting doesn’t matter. How can your one vote actually change things? Might I remind you that in Florida that decision came down to 537 votes. That is a small margin in a state where 6 million people voted.

Voting does matter. Who ends up in office affects our lives whether we like to admit it or not. It can determine what roads get built, what taxes we pay, and what wars we fight (or don’t fight). And those are just a few things that politicians decide.

The excuse I often hear is that you don’t know enough about the candidates to make an educated decision. The election is months away. Learn about the candidates and the issues. Don’t stick to one news agency. Research and decide. We are college students; educating ourselves is something we should know by now.

The next American Idol is not as important as the next American President. Register and vote. If you don’t, you let others speak for you. That is a larger travesty than Ruben beating Clay.

For more information, visit the following websites: www.rockthevote.org, www.vote-smart.org and www.e-democracy.org/us.

Shree Chauhan can be contacted at s.chauhan@umiami.edu.