It's 2016 and the presidential elections are coming up, exciting right? Not so much. This year's candidates have everyone in disbelief and unwilling to vote because none of the candidates are "likable." But that doesn't mean we have to stand around and do nothing while this circus show continues. It's 2016, now is not the time to lose hope, let's use the power we have to choose the next leader of the free world by voting. Why? Well, here are five reasons why.
1. There was a time when voting wasn't allowed for certain minorities.
Once upon a time, the Constitution did not guarantee everyone the "right to vote." It wasn't until 1870 when the 15th amendment declared that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Even then, Jim Crow made it very difficult for people of color to vote (it was later abolished in 1964 by the 24th amendment).
It wasn't until 1920 when the 19th amendment allowed women to vote! It took women decades of resistance in order for this milestone to happen.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came around and eradicated any infringements of the right to vote. We have to honor those that fought and sacrificed their lives (then and still do today), in order for us to be the country that we are; without them, many of us would not be able to vote.
2. We live in a democratic society.
While it may not be completely democratic, like our forefathers had intended, who is it that the candidates are speaking to and wanting to help change America? It's us, the hard-working, middle-class citizens. We are the ones that have the power to swing elections. Nevertheless, we have the right to vote and not doing so goes against the system created to ensure we live with our unalienable rights.
3. For college students, the policies we vote for will influence our lives for the next four years (possibly eight).
Some of us are in our final year of college and many are just beginning; either way, we will be hugely affected by our future president's actions. When we decide to continue our education, get a job, build a career, create our own businesses, start a family, and begin to pay health care, we will want leaders that have similar views as us.
4. The vote doesn't just matter for us, it affects other nations, the environment, and the future generation.
Candidates don't just talk about the issues here at home, but they also discuss foreign policies and environmental issues. The government is constantly intervening in world affairs through leaders and the military.
Environmental issues are not just affecting the United States. The pollution we have here also affects the air that travels to other places around the world. Both of these will affect the future in a positive or negative way and it all starts with a vote.
5. Finally, if you're not going to vote, you can't complain.
It's as simple as that: if you don't like something, fight to change it.
I understand that this year's elections seem like a joke, but that doesn't mean we can't do anything about it. All political parties aside, listen to the candidates' policies and see if you agree with what they're saying. They all might not be the best and most honest people, but one of them will be the next President of the United States.