For the first time in my life, I’m going to be able to have a real voice in politics. And for the first time, I’m taking my voice seriously.
In high school, I had friends who were into politics like it was going to end tomorrow. They liked to discuss everything politics-related, like who their favorite president was (Franklin Pierce), and what their favorite Constitutional Amendment was (the 24th). They knew the issues and had the ammunition to discuss them.
I sat on the outside of their political debate, content to be registered Democrat simply because that was my parents’ party of choice.
I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the biggest factors in our generation’s political choices is based on what our parents think.
Some are like me and register along our parent’s party line because we’ve grown up hearing the pros of that party and the evils of the opposite.
Others register whatever will scare or anger their parents the most, like the child of two conservative lawyers who decided to check independent on their registration card and list themselves as Green Party.
In both of these scenarios, people abdicate voting for the issues that really matter to them in favor of pleasing or annoying those around them. But learning the issues and registering for the party you truly believe in lets you take a stance in politics.
For people who haven’t registered yet, or want to change their party affiliation, it’s not too late to fill out a voter’s registration card. To be able to vote in the Kentucky primaries, residents must register by April 19.
In Kentucky, the easiest way to register is to visit the state board of elections Web site at kysos.com. The Web site has information on registering and voting issues.
For people who live out of state, you can visit rockthevote.com to register.
With the upcoming Kentucky presidential primaries on May 18 and the impending presidential election approaching, everybody should take advantage of their chance to vote.
Don’t vote for one candidate simply because he is the same party as you. Take the chance to learn about the issues and make your decision based on that.
One of the best ways to read about each candidate’s stance on various issues is the Web site presidentmatch.com. There is an online quiz where you can find out which candidate best represents how you feel about the problems in our country, and you can read a comparison of the candidates and what they stand for. Another option to learn more about political current events is vote-smart.org.
We complain about politics all the time, yet we don’t think our vote will matter. Had more people voted in 2000, the outcome of the election could’ve been quite different.
Maybe Al Gore would’ve gotten the few more electoral votes he needed to win the presidency. Or perhaps Bush would’ve ended up with a decisive victory and there would’ve been no need to recount chads and dimples in Florida.
It’s always been the big cliche to say “let your voice be heard” during election season, but if we as a generation want change in the country, we need to take the first step and vote in both the primaries and in November.
The vote that you think doesn’t matter could keep one man in the White House or send him packing back to his Texas ranch. If enough of us vote, our voices could change the country.
Beth Wilberding is a freshman news-editorial major from Louisville.
This commentary does not reflect the views of the Herald, Western or its administration.