Editorial: Next Month, Next Year and Every Year After: Why Smaller Elections have Bigger Impact

Millennials vote the way we engage in social activism; we show up as an issue boils over into the national eye, make sure everyone knows our opinion and then move onto the next issue the moment there’s a lull in the action.

Endangered animals and African poaching have been problems for decades, but it takes Cecil getting shot to get everyone riled up and active for the better part of a week.

In the political arena, the equivalent of harassing a dentist online who shot a lion is coming out to vote for the president. It’s the loudest, craziest time to vote, and everyone is doing it. It also is the election where your vote has the least real power.

When all the passion dies down, most people don’t go on to examine the complexities of a problem like poaching and how to actually engage it. Similarly, when the results come in and a new president is elected, the fever dies down and we all return to business as usual.

According to a Pew Research Center’s February 2014 survey, Millennials, ages 18-24 are showing up to vote for presidential elections. When asked if they were planning to vote in the 2016 election, 80 percent the age group said yes. The problem here isn’t that Millennials don’t vote, it’s that they only vote in one kind of election.

Voting during the primaries and midterm elections are just as — if not more — important than voting during the presidential election. Current voting campaigns push young Americans to head to the presidential polls using expensive ads that attempt to show voting as cool or hip. Millennials know their voice makes a difference, but they don’t know how much they make a difference, especially when it comes to local elections.

Voting only for the president is sort of like going to church only on Christmas and Easter. Sure, it probably makes you (or your grandma) feel good, but it doesn’t exactly make you a disciple either.

Change happens from the inside. Putting icing on garbage doesn’t make it attractive. It’s like trying to spray air freshener on a rotting corpse. You can’t mask something that’s deteriorating by taping the exterior together.

The government is billions of dollars in debt because of war? Vote for a congressperson that doesn’t support outrageous war spending. Smaller towns losing population? Vote to build new schools and improve the education of the youth.

While the president has a major effect on the country and the direction it’s heading, Millennials can make a noticeable change in their immediate area by voting in smaller elections.

Yes, the government has been working fine for the past 200-plus years, but just because a machine is working doesn’t mean it doesn’t require maintenance. The agenda we’ve been running on has been slowly running into problems, and now more than ever, we must fix it.

And by we, I mean the Millennials. It’s our time to assert our demographic dominance politically. Millennials are the new majority. The radical change this country needs isn’t going to come in the form of one man or woman in the oval office. This country was founded on checks and balances. The only way to fix the mess the nation is in is to work internally. Start small, vote locally. Begin getting involved in your community. When the groundwork is properly laid, the structure built on top of it is going to be substantially sounder.

Instead of sugar coating a rotten core, let’s build a better base and work our way up. Change isn’t going to happen in this country because of one person, it’s because of all of us. Go vote and be heard as often as elections happen. It’s a right people have fought and died to earn, don’t take it for granted. Want a better future? Make it happen.


 

The editorial board that writes editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor, and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member.  The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the adviser does not have final approval.

 

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