Should I vote?

I Asked My Peers The Real Reason They Don't Vote And These Are The 9 Things They Said

So why do people choose not to vote at all?

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Is voting something that is important to you? Having the right to vote is one of the most important rights that we have in the United States. Even though many of us are eligible to vote, younger generations consistently have younger turnout in the polls than older generations. With this being a reoccurring trend, I began to wonder why this is the case.

I asked many people why they choose not to vote in elections and this is what they had to say.

1. "The major topics discussed right now in politics are ones that I do not resonate with."

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"I wish we could be talking less about immigrants coming into the U.S. and more about environmental issues and finding ways to lower education costs."

2. "I have a hard time voting because I feel like my vote doesn't matter."

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"My one vote just won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Why should I vote if I feel like my voice isn't being heard? I wish I felt like my vote mattered more."

3. "I don't know much about politics."

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"Even with technology constantly at our fingertips, I still don't feel confident that I am very knowledgeable when it comes to political issues. I don't spend enough time keeping up with the news, but I know that I should."

4. "I don't know who to vote for."

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"No matter what stories and news I see, I'm not sure what to believe is true. Almost every media outlet is biased and spends time and effort trying to make their audiences agree with what they are saying. How am I supposed to know who to trust?"

5. "I don't align one hundred percent with any political party."

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"This is one of the biggest challenges for me because it seems like I can either only pick to vote Republican or Democratic and that anything else is not normal. I feel pressure to choose either one or the other like it's us versus them and vice versa. I wish politics wasn't so divided."

6. "Old white men."

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"They aren't going to vote in my best interest and they don't understand what my needs are. If there were younger individuals that I could resonate with I would be more inclined to vote."

7. "I dislike both of the candidates."

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"I'd rather see what happens during the elections. I don't want to have to pick the lesser of two evils. When it came to the 2016 presidential election, I feel no need to choose either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump because I wished neither of them would get elected."

8. "The process of voting takes way too long."

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"I hate the idea of having to wait in line forever. I heard about how much a pain waiting in the long lines can be in polling places. I can't afford to miss class or get off of work to stand in line for hours."

9. "Sometimes I feel like all politicians are corrupt."

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"I can't bring myself to trust any of them. I wish there was a way I could know who is trustworthy and ethical, but it seems impossible to know for sure."

These reasons for not voting are understandable. The decision to vote or not is a personal choice, but voting is a right we have in the United States that many people in the world do not have. Go ahead and educate yourself on important topics as well as use a variety of sources to receive news. Despite the assumption that your voice doesn't matter, it truly does, You can make your voice heard.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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