November’s election too important not to vote

_Editor’s Note: College Democrats at the University will contribute a weekly column Tuesdays until the presidential election in November._

Last week, Democrats from across the country met in Charlotte, N.C., to nominate President Barack Obama as the Democrat candidate for president of the United States.

I was able to attend the Democratic National Convention and listen to the three days of speeches. There were two important themes from the week: women and autoworkers. These messages were very powerful to me because they were relatable and resonate across the country.

The 2008 auto loan, Automobile Industry Recovery Act, impacted my life because my mom is an autoworker. I know the only reason I can afford the University’s tuition is because my mom has a good-paying auto job in Normal, Ill. Although the plant in Normal did not receive a federal loan, they still benefitted. If the suppliers were to go bankrupt because of Chrysler and General Motors, then all of the car manufacturing plants in the U.S. would be at risk.

Also, as a woman, many issues have been raised this election cycle. Lilly Ledbetter spoke at the DNC, and her testimony was striking to me. Equal pay for equal work should be a nonpolitical stance because we should treat all employees the same regardless of gender.

As a woman and the daughter of an autoworker, I know this election is way too critical to not be involved. The values and vision I see as the American dream are at stake. This is why students at the University need to engage themselves in the 2012 presidential election. There is too much on the line to assume the results. The only way to preserve the future we expect is to work for it and elect the officials who share the same vision.

President Obama has the same vision as I do because he supports people who want a fair chance to achieve the American dream. No one is asking for a handout, just for a chance to make it. It’s about turning around and helping your neighbor.

As students in Champaign-Urbana, we have the same chance to turn around and help our neighbor. This is our home and community for four years; we need to take responsibility for our campus home. By registering to vote in Champaign-Urbana, your voice will be heard on issues that affect your life while you are here in C-U — the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9. It is imperative for students to register at their new address if they have moved since the beginning of the school year.

It is time to help our neighbors and lift each other up. If you know your friends are not registered to vote, help them register. If you know your friends care and are confused about policies, talk to them. This election is too important to let the same people cast their votes instead of trying to include everyone on Nov. 6. It is time to be heard. As one, students can make a powerful impact on the future of our country.

_Shana Harrison,_

_President of College Democrats and senior in LAS_