You have a voice, make it count

Although there are polls that show that too many Americans don’t know or care much for politics, it isn’t necessary to see the numbers to know this.

People tend to find it difficult to follow politics at times because it can be confusing, difficult to understand or even boring. I don’t disagree with any of those — trying to grasp how investors, the Dow Jones, consumerism, Congress and other government or non-governing bodies all play a role in our country’s debt problems is definitely not easy. Since it isn’t easy, people will give up on it, then class it as boring.

But that simply cannot be. Americans have a duty to their country to lead it individually or through the groups to which they belong. The government in this country was created because the people wanted it. We created it, so we must also help guide and fix it when necessary. Now that does not necessarily mean inciting rebellion or throwing a shoe at someone you don’t like. (There’s a throwback to the Bush administration. Pun most definitely intended.) It does, however, mean paying attention to what the government is doing, so that each person can carefully decide what should be done.

Here’s the big question now: How can I, a single person in a country of over 300 million people, possibly affect how something is done way over in Washington D.C.? To start, pay attention to presidential debates, even though we are still far from the next election. We have to know now which candidates align best with our interests and beliefs. In order to do that, each person should have an idea of what they believe in, so when the time comes, they can act.

We’ll use a hypothetical example to illustrate the point. Let’s say Jackie is the proud owner of a bakery, and she is the single mother of two teenage kids. Straightaway we can assume Jackie cares about entrepreneurship, buying and selling goods, her children and thus their education and the home in which they live. Politically, Jackie cares to know that laws passed in Congress are not going to affect her ability to bake easily or affect the life she makes with her children. That seems obvious, but when it comes to Congress passing laws that impact these essential parts of Jackie’s— or any other American’s— life they simply remain grumbling about it in their homes.

So now we know where Jackie’s interests lay, but how can she, a single mother, affect the laws passed in Congress? She can vote. She can choose to vote for a candidate whose ideals align with those that she has.

Let’s say, Jackie doesn’t vote. She is now effectively saying, “I agree with how the country (or other government body) is doing its business, and no matter what they do, it will be alright.” Ask anyone; hardly is there a time when a person is entirely complacent with all of government’s decisions. Voting is the easiest way to make any opinion about government known.

We all have beliefs about what should be done. We have a say. We can’t just sit in our homes groveling about the unsavory events we see happening.

In fact, I titled this column “Jurisdiction” because its most broad definition means to have power or control over something. As a citizen of this country, we have the power and the say-so to shape the way things are done. Speak up, even if it is only a whisper.

_Ryan is a sophomore in LAS._