When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford stood up in front of the nation and in graphic detail described the sexual assault she faced as a young highschooler, she began by saying she didn’t want to be there. She was terrified. She didn’t want to be in a room of senators who would then later confirm her alleged attacker onto the Supreme Court of the United states. She was there because she felt like it was her civic duty.
It is our civic duty to women like Dr. Ford to vote. Voting is tedious, inaccessible and hard. People often feel like voting doesn’t matter or that there isn’t a point to picking between “the lesser of two evils.” Dr.Ford has taught a nation that it does matter, even if its hard or isn’t effective in tangible ways. We must vote people into power who have the integrity and strength to do what it was right.
The integrity of voting has been under assault by cynicism and hopelessness. Disillusionment with the voting system is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are no ways to measure how much apathy affects an election. There are people in power today that do not want you to vote. Who have spent their career making sure arbitrary identification cards, poll inaccessibility and archaic voting systems reign supreme — all to stop people from voting. How can we sit there under a faulty layer of intellectualism and say voting “doesn’t matter,” when people who know intimately how the system works fear voting? We can’t.
The nation is in a fragile position. Today’s hot ticket topics are student’s futures tomorrow. Your vote will decide how much student loans will affect your adulthood, how much access you have to birth control and how much the people in power will fear your vested interest. Yes, Voting is harder than it needs to be, but not voting when you have every capability to is cowardly. According to the US Census Bureau, 24.8 percent of voters between 18 to 24 decided not to vote in the 2016 election. Their listed reason wasn’t because it was “hard” but because they didn’t like either candidate. This was the highest listed reason and it is unacceptable. As a public we’re failing ourselves and our fellow citizens when we don’t put our opinions down where they matter. The biggest thing students must overcome when it comes to voting isn’t finding time between their schedules, or learning how to apply for an absentee ballot: it’s overcoming cynicism and apathy.
The nation’s elected officials failed Dr. Ford and every other woman who has been a part of the Me Too movement by proxy. Elected officials are a reflection not of how a nation feels, but how much a nation is willing to commit to voting. Even when we don’t want to be on voting lines or don’t want to spend time looking up how to register to vote. Even when we are terrified to face the political void consuming our country. We must do so because it is our civic duty.