Two weeks ago, The Index’s published a heartfelt opinion piece on former presidential candidate and nation’s beloved grandpa, Bernie Sanders. For me, reading this article reopened a lot of wounds I thought might have healed in the distracting rage of Donald Trump’s vile comments – you can take your pick of which ones I mean.
But in the midst of my nostalgia, I was reminded just how extraordinary this race has been. If not for the giant racist Cheeto that’s been running under the GOP banner, Bernie’s rise might well have been the most remarkable part of the 2016 election cycle. A Jewish, bird-whispering socialist who wanted to make college free ran for president – and got a hell of a lot farther than we all thought he would. In the same year, we also endured the political circus that was the primary race, watched violence erupt at rallies across the country, sat in awe of the vicious absurdity of the debates, and witnessed the implosion of the Republican party – which has had to smile through the pain of having that aforementioned Cheeto represent them as a feasible candidate for president.
And then, there’s us. For many K College students, myself included, this will be the first ever election we will vote in. Life is cruel like that sometimes
Nevertheless, and at the risk of sounding like an after-school special, we should all still chose to vote. We all know the reasons why (it’s been preached to death since before we even could cast a ballot), but many of us probably have cause of our own for considering sitting out this particular election cycle – and those reasons are not unwarranted.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t love either presidential candidate. Or maybe your party didn’t elect your primary candidate of choice, despite the fact that you already pledged your heart, soul, and ballot to him (or her, if you were really that inspired by Carly Fiorina). Or maybe the process as a whole has discouraged you about the future of the country. But in any case, you might have compelling motive to stick it to the political establishment by not showing up to the polls next week.
But the problem with making an impassioned statement by failing to vote is that it’s indistinguishable from those who don’t vote because don’t really care. To the rest of us, your protests are drowned out in a sea of those who don’t trouble themselves to stay informed and have a voice – or even worse, you appear just like them. And I can’t really think of anything worse than to be silenced by silence.
It’s true, this entire process has been weird to say the least. And at times, it can feel like we’ve all been watching helplessly from the sidelines. But if there’s one last chance to say what you need to, it’s November 8th. It’s a right, it’s a duty, and, in this apocalyptic election cycle, it’s a means to heal.