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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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November 6, making your vote count

I spent my first semester as a freshman becoming a U.S. citizen. To those who are given the privilege of becoming a citizen, it’s a huge change in your life. I never really understood how closed-minded people could be until I had a girl call me out on being an immigrant and say that it was the reason for my lack of knowledge on anything related to the U.S. Ironically enough, she was a former R.A and still continues to lack any form of consideration to the fact this country was founded on immigrants, including her own father. Comments such as the few I received from her, just goes to prove how we all must educate ourselves to make an informed vote this year and think for ourselves.

As someone who managed to accomplish something most people spend more than a decade trying to do, it went without saying that the words of an ill-informed person wouldn’t get me down. When I became a citizen last year, I was granted an important responsibility: the right to vote. Even before I turned 18, it was frustrating to see how little people cared about the future of the country that they live in.

This year’s election will be the first for me, and instead of touting a particular political party as the best, I would rather push others to just go out to vote. Since election time is just a few months away, it is crucial to make your vote count.

In the 2008 election, about 130 million people came out to vote. Although the population of the U.S. at the time was 305 million, only about 43 percent actually came out to cast their ballot. For a country that prides itself on democracy, this is a disappointing statistic. As students, we can change this. Politicians have always looked at the 18-24 age group as a useless voting group, deeming it to be uneducated and too young to realize the complexity of world issues.

Because of this, the problems that we face as students and as the next generation go ignored. Much of that has changed as this election approaches, with issues concerning education, healthcare and economic reform affecting our generation more than ever before. It is crucial to vote for issues that affects us, rather than vote based on issues that will affect our parents and the older generations.

When I vote this year, it won’t be for a candidate who will give me immediate change; it will be for the candidate who has a long-term plan that I can take advantage of once I graduate. If you are an out-of-state student, it’s even more important to register for an absentee ballot and send in your vote. It’s up to the new generation to change the American way of short-term thinking and bring the country into a more global mindset of thinking in the long term.

When becoming a citizen, everyone must take an oath to protect the U.S. To those who were born citizens, you were given the privilege from day one, whereas others have to work to earn it. Rather than beating down on immigrants, it’s time to focus on the fact every citizen gets a vote, and it should be used wisely.

The system in place today has so much power. We get annoyed with the government when it fails us, but we forget that we are the ones who have the power to vote people in and put public pressure on the government to get members who fail us out. It’s all in our hands. Not voting means giving more power to the government and giving it a free pass to compromise on our values. I urge you as the new incoming class to all take an hour out of your day to go vote on Nov. 6. To those who aren’t sure about government and its present role, voting is the only way to change it.

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