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Viewpoint: Why It’s So Important to Vote in 2018

It is one thing to protest and post on social media, but that alone changes nothing.

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Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. (Image: Michael Fleshman, Flickr).

This is the year of reckoning.

It can be seen in the souls of the brave teenagers standing up to government officials in the wake of 17 classmates and teachers being gunned down in the hallways of their high school in Parkland, Fla. The #MeToo movement is continuing on full steam ahead and has spread far beyond Hollywood.

The Trump presidency has ignited a flame across the country that will not be extinguished.

This noticeable uptick in activism has been inspiring for many. But if these same people don’t show up to the voting polls later this year, these efforts will be for nothing.

Casting a ballot is the most important of all of the powers American citizens have. It’s one that the country takes for granted, and that must end this year too.

Low voter turnout has plagued elections for years. It’s a sad truth that people who claim to care about politics never show up when it matters most. Surely, there are arguments against voting. The electoral college makes an individual vote seem pointless. But the message sent by not voting is far more damaging than it seems.

This is the first chance to prove that the resistance has power. Right now, it has a vital voice in the public discourse. But come election season, these efforts must be focused predominately on voting.

By not voting, you are signaling to the troubled world that you don’t care. And when people don’t care about the world, things never change. It is one thing to protest and post on social media about your anger towards the president and the GOP, but that alone changes nothing.

This is the first chance to prove that the resistance has power. Right now, it has a vital voice in the public discourse. But come election season, these efforts must be focused predominately on voting.

There are many organizations across the country to get involved with. It’s easy to be angry, but nothing worthwhile is ever simple. Anger and frustration can be channeled into meaningful work and activism through time and effort.

Indivisible and Swing Left are just two of the many organizations fighting to get people excited about voting.

But it’s not necessary to be involved with a major group to make a difference. Bring your friends with you on election day. Help them register to vote and explain to them why they should. It may not seem like it makes a difference, but passionate people can create change in the simplest of ways.

Now is the time to be loud, not silent. This is the year that the US gets back on track. But it will not happen without the people who are designated to lead the masses into a better and brighter future.

The power to vote is essential to the experience of living in a democracy. Those who take it for granted need to realize just how easily other nations are denied this simple right. It has never been more important to vote, and nothing will ever change if people fail to realize that fact.

 

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Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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