Vote or die … or be mocked

By Sujay Kumar

Welcome to the University of – let’s get down to business.

Over the next few months your head will be flooded with opinions from everyone. These opinions will ultimately lead to one pivotal question: Who are you going to vote for?

Well good luck with all that. There’s no point on harping on the “who” any longer. The real question is whether those of you who can vote, will vote this November.

Yeah, yeah, every vote matters and people our age can have an incredibly strong impact on this year’s election. But if that’s not incentive enough for you to get up and go to your surrogate town hall to say yay or nay, maybe this will: Vote or DIE.

No, not really. Sadly, I’m not Diddy and as we all saw four years ago, that threat was not credible.

Instead, in no political-order, here’s a list of what rights you lose if you don’t exercise your right to vote:

1. The right to pass out hundreds of campaign flyers and make sarcastic comments at others for not making eye contact with you as they walk by. They obviously do not give a (insert angry word) about the country.

2. The right to flaunt campaign buttons pinned next to your heart and underneath an American flag. If clothes can’t recover from puncture wounds, backpacks will do.

3. The right to sip a Venti cup of mocha-coca-jamocha latte, flip your scarf over a shoulder, take your glasses off and put the tip in your mouth to signal deep, contemplative thought and say, “This is why I’m voting for Obama…”

4. The right to join in on the excitement of updating your Facebook status minutes after you’ve voted to show others that you’re making a difference. For a better idea, replace all statuses featuring “The Dark Knight” with “Voting.” For example: “Voting was Pure Awesomeness. Worth every second. Let’s get better numbers than Titanic.”

4 point 25. The right to share the same political beliefs of celebrities likes Angelina Jolie and Roseanne.

If you’re not sold on voting yet, chances are you may be leaning towards spending election day doing everything but letting your voice be “heard.” In that case, here are the powers you gain by casting away your right to cast a vote:

1. The power of Street-cred when you act as though you’re the jaded lost generation and ignore any peppy campaigners who cross your path. Every time you increase the volume on your iPod to drown out an “Excuse me, would you like to…”, you come closer to nirvana. Or Fall Out Boy.

2. The power to wear T-shirts featuring political ideologies, intellectual phrases, and the ground-breaking idea of sticking it to the man in hope of inciting a textbook-college revolution to clean up what the establishment has dirtied.

3. The power to find out the exact weekly times political clubs on campus meet and then deliberately liberate yourself by not going, and consequently not selling out.

4. The power to break free from the voting masses and update your Facebook with a quote from some great thinker about the real purpose of government. Inevitably, others will be enlightened about how voting for the general election is just a small piece of the larger democratic process, never the ultimate goal.

4 point 23. The power to show that you don’t care about celebrity endorsements, even if they may be from Hannah Montana or The Jonas Brothers.

So choose your side, time’s running out. And no, just because you read something political in a newspaper doesn’t mean that you’re half-way there. Whichever way that might be.

Sujay is a senior in biochemistry and welcomes you back to the University of Illinois.