On this day, November 4th 2008, we as Americans have both an incredible opportunity and an incredible responsibility on our hands. While cannot and will not state my affinity towards either presidential candidate, I will say that this election is historic. I am a young person, and have only had one other opportunity to vote for the president of our country before, but from everything my parents and grandparents have told me, this election and the stakes involved are unprecedented. It’s not just the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, the US role in the world, etc; it is about what voting means in our country. We live in a democracy, and that means that we as citizen have a say in who runs our country, and how they do it. Young people play a critically important role in this, and so here is why I think young people (and all people) should vote today:

1. Historically, only a small percentage of young people have voted.

The youth vote is seriously underestimated and historically only a small percentage of young people who can vote actually have done so. This doesn’t mean youth can’t be a force, it just means that youth aren’t the main impetus for the creation of campaign platforms and candidate advertising. So, go against what everyone is expect, and get out and vote!

2. The biggest issues being addressed by candidates often directly effect young people in our country the most
The war in Iraq, funding for education, employment, and reproductive rights issues are just a few of the many issues that directly effect the quality of your life as a young person. In thinking about the future we will one day inherit from the current generation in power, add onto that list environmental concerns, fuel consumption, food supply and much more. If you don’t vote and you are essentially giving away your ability to have any influence as to how these issues are addressed and effectively dealt with. Plus, I think it bears mentioning that a democracy only works if the people in it are participating. And while one vote may seem like nothing, added together with other votes it makes a huge difference. I am sure you have all seen the 5 Friends youtube videos, but I am continuously blown away by the reminder that 537 people decided the 2000 election.

3. If you don’t vote you really can’t complain about government or policy decisions you disagree with
If you don’t vote you are essentially saying you don’t care how your country is run. If you don’t care enough to vote, what makes you think that you can complain when something you don’t like happens? If you want the right to complain, then you need to vote!

4. Vote because you can!
Voting is a privilege. People in other countries fight for this right. This is a right that so many young people in democratic nations take for granted. You should vote because you can. So just stop complaining, put your money where your mouth is (or your vote where your stance is), and VOTE!!!