Students fail to show interest in elections

By Amanda Finnegan
November 10, 2006

Shane Evans

With the election season just passing and Washington D.C. welcoming both new and old faces, the election seems to have done just that, pass through. For much of our generation, it is a complete out-of-body experience. We see it on the news. We see the signs and the ads. It has been plastered everywhere for months and it’s been hard to escape, but ironically young voters pay little attention to the elections. We subconsciously make our judgments but fail to take our opinions to the polls on Election Day.

This past weekend, Cabrini held one of the last democratic rallies on the campaign trail with big players like former Vice President Al Gore, Governor Ed Rendell and other democratic hopefuls. Despite campus publicity, out of the 400 to 500 people in attendance, Cabrini students made up a mere handful at the rally. It can’t possibly be that every student on campus is a hardcore Republican and they were taking a stand by not attending. Passion for the rally failed to show while not a single student protestor attended outside of the Dixon Center to oppose the lefties.

Political apathy is a growing problem with our generation. One of the main reasons college students opt not to vote is because many feel that they aren’t educated enough on the candidate’s positions and the issues to make a concise decision. Students are turned off by the endless ads that create animosity from one candidate to another. They find it difficult to sort through all the negativity to find the issues.

Rendell and outsiders of the region said the races in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among the dirtiest in the country. Politicians chose to use their ad time for bashing instead of addressing the issues. The phrase “change in Washington” means nothing if we don’t see a plan.

The rare positive ads that we did see this election were directed at families and an older generation. It’s hard to relate.

But nonvoters can’t place all the blame on the smear campaign. Educating ourselves on the candidates is part of our responsibility. Most local papers like the Philadelphia Inquirer break down the issues candidate by candidate for voters, just as each candidate’s web site does. The facts are out there, it’s a matter of making an effort to acquire them.

Many young voters feel that if it isn’t a presidential election that it isn’t as important. We are the future of the country, yet we’re leaving the voting to our elders.

If we go back to our middle school history lessons, we remember that each branch of government plays an equal part. Congress makes decisions on a daily basis that affect college students. They control federal funding for higher education, financial aid and interest rates on student loans. If we are discontent about an issue, our only chance to change it is to vote or someone who can change it.

If students continue ignore politics, our voices will be continually swept to the side. Excuses like, “I don’t live in the district” or “I don’t know the candidates” just don’t cut it. Educate yourself, know your candidates and get involved. Election season has come and gone but there is always next time.

Citizen in some countries die for the chance at democracy and the privilege to vote but Americans take the right for granted, especially those of our generation. Voting is our civic duty; we owe it to ourselves and our country to use the tools we have to initiate change.

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Amanda Finnegan

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