Among the greatest blessings of our country are that Americans can have a say in who our elected leaders are and that we can be involved in what policies are enacted. Now, as a fourth-year college student, I’ve come to more fully realize the importance of political participation.
I used to never care about politics. There was never enough time, it seemed too boring, or even worse, I felt that it didn’t matter to me. Whenever I heard of politics, I always pictured old men in suits and ties, arguing about issues in some far-off place.
But as I grew older, I realized that I can’t just sit back and watch politics play out — that politics is in every facet of my life (whether I like it or not). I realized that not only can I be a part of the decision-making process, and thereby make a difference in my community and country, but that I have to.
It’s easy to stay on the sidelines
As a college student it is easy to think that our leaders don’t care or listen to us. It is easy to make up excuses or find a more “fun” thing to get involved with. But each and every day I am reminded of the impact our elected leaders have — on everything from how much in taxes are taken out of our paychecks to why we go to war.
I do not know the answers to the questions involved in such decisions, to say the least, but what I do know is that each and every one of us has a say and an impact on why things are the way they are today. And from your paycheck to your grocery bill, everything is affected by politics and the decisions our leaders make.
I don’t know about you, but the reason I went to college is so I could get a job that will help me live a comfortable life and make a difference in the lives of others. But the unemployment rate for the 18- to 24-year-old demographic has reached a high of over 16 percent, which is twice that of the general population. More than 40 percent of college students/graduates have taken an unpaid job or moved back in with their parents. Do you want to be a part of that statistic, too? With nearly 2 million graduates expected to enter the job market in 2012, now is the time to get involved and make our voices heard. We can change that.
Cast a vote, write a message …
As college students, we are faced with many difficult decisions about our future. There is a lot we cannot control. But what we can control is the difference we make not only for our lives, but for the lives of many generations yet to come. The best part is that it is quite easy to do! All it takes is standing in line at a polling place to cast your vote, or writing a short message to your elected leader, or even talking about your cares and concerns with fellow members of the community. One voice may seem small, but together we can do so much.
We as college students are at a crossroads in our lives. We do not know what the future will bring. But we can do our part to make sure that our future is bright and prosperous.
Ashley Goettl, 21, of North Mankato is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a summer intern at VOICES of Conservative Women.