I’m not paying a poll tax. Oh sorry, wrong time period. I’m not voting unless I get something right now for my effort: instant gratification. There we go – that’s better.
Going along with that, who in their right mind would trust my decision at the polls? My own university didn’t even have that kind of faith in me when it came to whether or not students would get a voice in the mascot debacle. That sounded a lot like, “I don’t trust you to make forward progress, so I’m loading the dice.” Or better yet, the administration just cut me out of a decision altogether, like oh, I dunno – the smoking ban.
If this happens on a local level, why would it be any different in a bigger, more encompassing choice like the November election? Probably because I’m just going to the polls to vote on a superficial (or selfish) reason, likely the most absurd one I can justify to my friends: Candidate X will bail out student loans, yeah! But Candidate Y will give me milk and cookies after I cast my ballot. Oh, now that’s a toughie. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
So I’ve decided to become un-American and forgo my vote. I’m just going to hurt the lives of people actually working in society with my overzealous attitude on the building site for Utopia. I form a demographic (like those below the poverty line) for political parties who craft quarter-truths and tax schemes to illicit my vote (like raising welfare payout) because I’m impressionable and gullible.
Before I wreak any more havoc, I’m taking the problem out of the equation: me. The greater societal issues of debt, a prolonged war on terror, bad lending and unemployment are getting dumped on my future anyway, so why ruin everyone’s fun lives or make my life any harder?
Yes, yes, I know. Not exercising a vote is willing ignorance against the values on which the country was built, the same country that had Boss Tweed and poll taxes among others at one point or another. But what do I really know about the big world and real life?
I know college life quite well, but college ends someday, and the voting swing of my peers and I have repercussions that will affect us in the years to come. We make decisions based on what we see from our limited scope, choices that hit the world of people actually working nine to five. I’m talking about accountability, of us, for our votes.
It’s preposterous that we hold ourselves accountable for our skewed dreams and unrealistic goals. Accountability is for Chicago teachers, Chick-Fil-A, Madoff and Walmart – not politics (or voting decisions).
Politics is about making friends and looking good on camera, not being a leader of men and women. That’s just as absurd as accountability. We want to see big lofty speeches that pollute chambers with carbon dioxide, baby kissing (pedobear is happy), mud-slinging and scantly-clad grandmothers. And I want milk and cookies too.
The reality is that as a college student I’ve got two handicaps on proper decision making. First, I don’t have any skin in the game (taxes, workforce, career, property, etc.); I’m just a baby in the grander scheme of life. Second, I’m too susceptible to idealistic concepts and slogans.
After all, I spend my day learning about the could-be Utopia from 90 floors up in the ivory tower. It’s doubtful that I’m competent enough to see through rhetoric and actually understand what’s at stake. It’s easy to claim any possible future if I have only a limited vested hold on what’s going on right now.
So why boost the self-esteem of a political party by allowing them to claim the young adult vote? They’ll tell me anything I want to hear in order to get my support. But now that I think about it, if they give me candy I’ll go with the political pedobear into the booth again. I’m just that kind of voter.
Daniel Purdy is an English senior from Oxford.
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