‘Vote or Die,’ a self-defeating principle for today’s youth

I never thought of myself as an apathetic voter. I love discussing and reading about politics, and during the 2008 campaign, I looked at the eighteen-year-old classmates at my high school with no small amount of envy. I was excited about researching candidates, making my choices, and knowing I had made a contribution. 

I saw Bill Clinton speak on behalf of Hilary in 2008, and although I personally favored Obama, there was something about the way Clinton spoke that gave me such hope for the future of our country. At the same time, Obama was able to mobilize young voters in a way that no one had in years.

So why was the thought of voting in the midterm election so unappealing to me? It’s not fair to blame all of this on Obama; this trend of young voter apathy is nothing new. However, after countless scandals, extremist chatter and broken promises, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to express an opinion. 

Despite all the talk two years ago about change, it doesn’t seem like there is any candidate out there I can trust. A vote is like an endorsement in that if the person I vote for ends up becoming the next breaking story on CNN, I would feel responsible.

The faith the 2008 voters placed in Obama was almost unconditional. I’m not in a place where I can give that kind of trust to a candidate. Hit me with all the clichés about people who don’t vote all you want (I’ve used them before). I will remain unmotivated until I feel like there’s something to believe in again. Just because someone shouts the word change from the top of a building or on my television, doesn’t mean he means to deliver. 

I know how valuable and important my vote is. I know that women before me went to jail to claim the right I am choosing to relinquish.

I’m disappointed in myself. Not voting is essentially shutting yourself off from the debate, and I know that I have no right to complain about Rick Perry, or anyone else voted into office.  

I want to feel that excitement about voting again, and all of us should express our opinions on the ballot so that our voices are heard. Someone just has to figure out how to get us to do it.