Welcome back to election season.
In case you didn’t get your fix of melodrama watching “The Bachelorette” this summer, both political parties have decided to up the ante with drama, intrigue and buffoonery, even though the actual election is over a year away.
Still, it seems like with every election, the voter turnout gets smaller and smaller.
In the midterm elections last year, voter turnout was at its lowest since 1942, with only 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population showing up to the polls, according to the United States Elections Project.
The strength of our democratic process is one of the things we Americans pride ourselves in most, so why are so few people participating in it?
I imagine that in the past few years there has been significant sentiment among our generation against trusting established authority, with the government getting the lion’s share of this criticism. We have a Congress that is polarized and gridlocked on all major issues, a president who upsets Congress by overstepping them on a variety of issues and a presidential campaign system where extraordinarily wealthy donors can tip the scales in their favor with enormous and unregulated donations.
Despite whatever frustrations and disillusionments you may have with our government, voting in this upcoming presidential election is the best way to make your voice heard. Every American voter has unquantifiable power in their vote and, through enough passionate Americans making their voices heard through their votes, the next president of the United States will truly represent the will of the people.
I have been very lucky to have lobbied Congress with the pro-Israel lobbying organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and I am excited to lobby Congress again with the Recording Academy as part of their GRAMMYs In My District initiative, lobbying on behalf of musicians and music creators everywhere.
In these instances, I have the opportunity to speak directly to my representative and actually have them listen to what I am saying. In politics and in life, people do not know what you want unless you clearly tell them. I encourage everyone to find opportunities like this – to meet your representatives and tell them what issues are most important to you.
Students should also make the effort to be informed about current issues and politicians through sources like Purple Politics and Politico. Most candidates also have pages on their campaign websites that clearly state their stance on issues.
No matter which party you affiliate with, the 2016 election is one that is far too important for anyone to simply sit back and watch from the sidelines. Democracy works best when the people participate in it. As Woody Allen would say, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
We can make sure the right person is sitting in the Oval Office in 2016 by simply showing up to the ballot box and voting.
Eitan Snyder is a sophomore majoring in music business.
Feature photo courtesy Pixabay user landrachuk.