In the College Center Building the other day I heard a student tell a friend she wasn't planning to vote in the Presidential election because she didn't know much about the candidates and "it didn't really matter who got in anyway."
Her friend nodded and said that she too was sitting the election out. She added that she hadn't paid any attention to what the candidates stood for, though she thought Donald Trump was a jerk and had heard Hillary Clinton couldn't be trusted.
So both were letting others decide their future for them.
This isn't a pitch for a specific candidate (though I can say for sure it DOES INDEED MATTER who becomes President). Nor is it one of those "voting-is-your-civic-responsibility" lectures that you've probably heard before and that doesn't seem to resonate these days even though there are tons of people on this planet who would give anything to have a say in who runs their country.
But it is about engagement and knowledge and interest, none of which seemed to matter much to the two students whose conversation I overheard.
It's also, in a curious kind of way, about personal pride. Neither student seemed at all embarrassed that she hadn't bothered to learn about the candidates or their views on issues that will most certainly affect everyone's life. Both seemed content to be ignorant and indifferent, as if making an intelligent and informed decision about the next President was on par with deciding what Netflix film to watch on Friday night.
Happily, there are students on campus who pay attention to the world, including the words and ideas of those seeking to succeed Barack Obama, and who will get to the polls on Election Day and cast a vote for the candidate of their choice. To those I say Bravo, no matter what their politics.
But to those who know nothing--and who see nothing wrong with knowing nothing--it's time to step up and start paying attention. There's too much at stake on Election Day (and beyond) for anyone to be mentally missing in action. What's more, your life is too important to leave its quality and direction to others, not all of whom (trust me on this) have your best interests at heart.
So take these next few weeks to get registered (here's how--https://www.elections.ny.gov/) and get informed. And on Election Day, get to the polls and vote.
Because your voice and your vote matter. . . .