On Nov. 8, elections were held around the country for local positions in office, tax measures, non-partisan ballot measures, and more. At George Fox University (GFU), however, there seems to be a lack of political participation and discussion.
Last year’s election was a vital time to stand up for what you believe in, but I heard a lot of people saying things along the lines of “I’m not really interested in politics” and “I don’t like talking about political issues.”
While there is a time and a place for discussing these tough topics, as members of a technologically advanced society with so much information at our disposal, it is our responsibility to be educated about issues in our society.
There is no excuse for ignorance anymore. Access to news and politics is readily available, so it is important for the individual to educate themselves. Political opinions hold no meaning unless attached to action.
I conducted a survey with 100 members of the GFU community on voting habits, and 91 percent of those participants are registered to vote, while only 41 percent voted in their local elections. While maybe this survey does not reflect the data of the whole student body, likely most students or people in general do not vote in their local elections, based on national statistics.
Of the survey participants, 74 percent said they thought their vote mattered. Knowing a vote makes a difference while choosing not to vote is selfish.
Students aged 18-24 could be the deciding demographic if we showed up to vote. We have the numbers but lack the motivation to take action and stay informed.
This does not just apply to national elections. Local lawmakers have an even larger influence on issues directly affecting students’ daily life than the federal government in many circumstances.
For example, in 2014, the Seattle City Council voted to incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This action has a direct impact on the workers and companies of Seattle. It is important to make sure the people holding these local offices are the people who stand for what is best for the region.
Many times there are nonpartisan measures on the ballot for local elections. Staying aware of voting topics is vital because there can be items about funding for different city projects in local communities.
I would argue that local and congressional elections are more important now than ever. In my district in Washington, there was an election for a state senate seat that would break the GOP majority in Olympia.
Democrats were elected into important offices in Virginia, New Jersey., and New York City, as well as turning over control in six state House and Senate races, according to CNN. This is a direct reaction to the disaster that is Trump’s White House.
People are unhappy with the direction this country is heading and are taking action to combat it. Now more than ever, we, as young people, must speak up and take action.
Reported by Emma Lindberg