The Rising Popularity of Not Voting

The Rising Popularity of Not Voting

Disenfranchised voter demographics, specifically youth-voters, continue to show a growing distrust, and disinterest, in American elections; perhaps these feelings are credible.
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With political participation approaching an all-time low, even more prominently so in the youngest demographic of voters, attempting to attribute validity and reason to such an action remains met with harsh regard and disapproval. To promptly and briefly outline the societal-state of this issue, the civic duty and value of voting inundated in society by Cold War-era patriotism and national unity is challenged by the greater diffusion of knowledge regarding political dysfunction and corruption afforded by new-age forms of news media (e.g. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter) derived from the Internet.

Convoluted vocabulary aside, this article seeks to explain why a growing number of us, specifically referring to newly legal voters, simply don’t give a shit.

Now, I led into this writing with a ‘somewhat-lengthy’ prelude with a ‘somewhat-exaggerated’ pallet of words to verify that I, as a worthless, lazy, unproductive member of Generation Z, am not a total imbecile; or I just use an online-thesaurus too much. I address this because of the common ‘laziness’ characteristic attributed to those living in Generation Z, as well as Generation Y. And, more central to my argument, used as a means to dismiss any reasoning for the breach of societal-norms brought about by said generation demographics.

In relation civic duty, the willing refusal to vote scores highly among the most significant violations of what is expected of individuals in American society. But, is this scorn and disapproval by society warranted?

Before delving into a flurry of statistically-supported evidence which will undoubtedly still be denied by some, contorted by others and ignored by more, a preliminary discussion of the electoral system we, as citizens of legal-voting-age, are obliged to participate in, is necessary.

After being raised in a society which the loosely-defined ideals of democracy and justness were affirmed to us through the simple, mindless chant of a pre-rehearsed verbatim at an innate flag located somewhere within our school classrooms, it would not be unreasonable to expect such a Utopia to exist. Over time and education, however, the falsity of this supposed-reality would become increasingly apparent, most relevantly as we learned that our vote, does not matter. Through gerrymandering,

In the case of the latter, take the lack of voter participation not simply as young voters being 'lazy' and 'impertinent towards civic duty', but instead a political statement in its own right. With nearly all national elected-politicians, of both congressional and presidential notation, since the turn of the 20th Century affiliating by the two-party system, which 43 percent of Americans no longer identify with (the majority of these Americans being members of Generation Y), it is foremost apparent that party-absent, or independent, voters are discouraged simply by the fact that they, despite being a large party-demographic, are not whatsoever represented.

This disinterest in the current two-party state of American politics was further echoed during the most recent presidential primaries, in which Bernie Sanders, who had previously politically-identified as a party-independent senator, was significantly favored by millennial voters among all primary candidates. Despite the Democratic Primary resulting in defeat for Sanders, 40 percent of eligible-American voters below age 30 continue to express intention to vote Third Party, which is yet another testament to the increasing disinterest among millennial voters to the current state of party-politics.

As suggested earlier, what it means to young voters to uphold 'civic duty' may be undergoing a redefinition. Currently, American is experiencing a degree of quantity and diversity of social activism, ranging from Anti-Globalization Movements, such as Occupy Wall Street to the Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as an endless list of others; a notable amount of which are comprised of youth-activists.

Well, this could simply be corrected if these damn kids would just do their duty as Americans and vote, correct? Unfortunately, why this is not true serves yet again as another catalyst for absence of political participation among young voters. As previously mentioned, potential-Democratic Nominee Bernie Sanders saw significant support from the youngest voter demographic, to such an extent that "revolution" became a linguistic-symbol for his campaign. With such an alarming support and potential for the least-active demographic of voters to participate, however, came an uprising of systematic-attempts to prevent such voters from materializing. Even early in the primaries, subtle, arguable, instances of voter suppression were observed against the Sanders campaign by the Democratic National Committee, this came to a fruition in late-July with the leakage of DNC top-official emails attempting to ensure a Clinton-victory in the primaries; which was quickly overshadowed by a blame-game on the whistle-blower. Turning what should be an example of functioning democracy, into yet another reason for voters to harbor distrust and disinterest in the political system.

Although a clear and universally-accepted justification for the lack of participation among young-voters may never be agreed upon, it is undeniable that growing skepticism regarding the efficacy of ideal-American democracy has played a significant role. With the ever-growing distrust in news media and, subsequent, substitution with other sources, such as social media websites, in mind, it is further reasonable to suggest that, with a continued stream of similar democratically-infringing events, this skepticism and disenfranchisement will only continue to grow among American voters. What this distrust will bring, only the future, and history, can tell.

Cover Image Credit: Jef Parker

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The U.S. Is Slowly Making Rape OK, And I Am Not OK With That

As a college student, I am surrounded by rape, and I could never begin to imagine going through such a situation and then having to have a child due to it.

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A couple weeks ago, I got into an Uber.

I wasn't expecting my driver to tell me what she did. She informed me that just weeks ago, she had picked up a girl on the side of the road walking alone who had just been raped. Raped. She did what she thought to be the right thing and took her to the hospital, right in the heart of a college town, and was shocked to find out what they didn't have: rape kits. They told the victim that by the time they got one from the closest hospital that had one, it would be useless.

I was appalled.

Now, what's even more appalling is everything that's going on at this very moment surrounding female reproductive rights. I've tossed up the idea of writing on this topic for a while, but I finally decided it's time. Numerous states, including my own home state, have recently made big moves in the wrong direction on the topic of abortion, including the heartbeat bill.

As one article puts it, "Heartbeat bans attempt to outlaw abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, which is often in the embryonic stage, as early as six weeks' gestation, before many people even know they are pregnant. These laws, some of the most extreme in the country, are flatly unconstitutional because they seek to ban abortion months before the point at which a fetus is viable."

Now, I'm not one to believe that abortions should just be thrown around like nothing, but in no way should they be completely thrown away, which is essentially what these states are trying to do.

What's even more appalling on this matter is the speech that our country's politicians are using to validate their positions. Here are some of the most shocking:

"Rape is kinda like the weather. If it's inevitable, relax and enjoy it." — Clayton Williams
"Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation." — Rick Santorum
"In the emergency room, they have what's called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out." — Jodie Laubenberg (I can't even begin to express how wrong this statement is.)
"If a woman has the right to an abortion, why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death." — Lawrence Lockman

These are actual statements from politicians on why they remain pro-life. These are the people representing our country. These are the people who are now representing my body and my reproductive rights, and I'm not going to lie, I'm scared.

Scared to get raped in a college town where the hospital even doesn't have rape kits.

Scared to get raped in a society that doesn't believe in or care about the woman making a claim.

Scared to get raped.

I'm honestly not sure if and when I want children, but I now live in a country where these concerns do not matter. However, my own thoughts aren't the only thing that does not seem to matter.

Eleven years old. This is how old a rape victim in Ohio is, who is now pregnant. Thanks to the new law, young women like her will now have to follow through with their pregnancies, but it does not matter to these politicians.

When signing the bill, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine focused on the rights of the fetus. "The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don't have a voice," he said. "Government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end."

If they really wanted to protect the "most vulnerable," they would think about the young (and old) rape victims who go unacknowledged each and every day.

As one article from CBS reports,

"More than 4,000 women were raped in Ohio in 2017, according to data compiled by the FBI. Of those, more than 800 victims were assaulted by a family member. In the future, if women became pregnant as a result of such crimes, Ohio's so-called 'fetal heartbeat bill' would prohibit them from receiving an abortion any time after about six weeks, which is before most women even know they're pregnant."

Ohio's new law has no exceptions for rape victims or incest. These states do not care. In several cases, they even place the blame on the victim and shove the situation under the rug.

If we truly want to "Make America Great Again," we need change.

These laws are inhumane, as are the people supporting them and representing us as a country. It seems as if every day we keep moving backward instead of forward, and are moving back into a society that advocates against women, minorities, and more.

I could never support something that could easily affect me at any point in time that I have no control over.

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