Comprehend: Don’t ‘throw a vote away’

By Christine Ernest
October 7, 2004

A majority of college students should make careful considerations before voting in this upcoming election for one simple reason: they just do not fully understand the issues.

It is a known fact that college students are well-educated young adults that are given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, but the truth is that most of the issues that are presented to them via the election are still too complex. At times, it seems like sorting out all the issues between the presidential candidates is like being caught smack dab in the middle of New Year’s Eve; you’re getting continually punched in the face by other members of the crowd while all you want to do is gasp for air, and try to make sense in the confusion.

Now many will argue and say that it is the young adult’s job to make sense of all the issues if they intend to cast their vote come Election Day, but sometimes it is a little difficult to grasp predicaments that will not affect them for years down the road.

When was the last time a college student had to stand in a doctor’s office and depend on Medicare to cover their visit? Has anyone heard a college student say that they are glad that Social Security is still present in the United States so he can retire right now? Experience is the one of the best teachers, but unfortunately young adults do not have the ability to really be subjected to most issues being shoved in their faces.

Yes the above situations are ridiculous, but it is also ridiculous to think that a college student can fully understand that type of issue unless they have experienced it first-hand, in their own lives.

Perhaps the only way to conquer the overwhelming task of picturing yourself in 50 years is to bypass it for the moment, and focus on the present.

Recently there has been a lot of activity occurring with the upcoming election and music. Some look down upon this convergence, wondering why bands, that have little to nothing in common, like Death Cab for Cutie and Pearl Jam are touring together. Everyone please be a big girl or big boy and think outside of the box for once because this junction of politics and music really is a beautiful thing.

A new CD that has been highly rotated in the college-radio airwaves is Future Soundtrack of America. Presenting politically charged music with a track listing including artists such as Tom Waits, Jimmy Eat World, Elliott Smith, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and R.E.M. is enough to catch the attention of young adults and adults alike. Music for America and MoveOn.org teamed together with Barsuk records to create this fundraising compilation that will certainly make everyone’s head turn.

Go to Music for America’s Website (http://www.musicforamerica.org) and see exactly why that organization formed. It was because none of them really understood issues, but they did not like what was occurring with politics.

This non-profit, partisan organization does an excellent job of explaining the topics that are relevant to a college student’s life. No matter what your political party is, this website can help shed some light on the mysteries that are in fact some of the biggest concerns that affect young adults.

Some of the issues that are explained in the website are higher education, media consolidation, youth service funding and environmental issues. Not only does the organization explain them, it also encourages voters to get out there and make a difference. A recent post on the Music for America’s Website says, “Don’t just get pissed-off, get involved. Go to a show. Participate.”

It is up to every voter in college to make sure he understands the issues fully in his mind before he decides which candidate to vote for in the next election. All young adult voters should go find a way to connect politics with something they feel passionately about, like music. Just remember on Election Day: voting without fully comprehending the issues is the same as throwing a vote away.

Posted to the Web by Lori Iannella

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Christine Ernest

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