By Olivia Pan
Do you remember when you were little and you wouldn’t eat your peas, or anything green for that matter? Your Mom might have told you that not everyone on the planet had enough to eat that day, such as starving children in far-flung places. The message was not just to scare us into ingesting nutrients, but to remind, and maybe even shame, us into thinking that people would kill for those peas and maybe die for lack of them. It was to remind us of how fortunate and entitled we were to be able to turn down food. Think of your ability to vote, not your right to vote, as a bunch of peas. There are people who would kill for it, risk their life for it, and have certainly died in pursuit of it.
It has become increasingly apparent that many millennials plan to go one of two ways this election: not vote at all, or vote for a third party candidate. According to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 44 percent of millennial voters, specifically those under the age of 35, would prefer to vote for a third party candidate this election. Voting for a candidate who has no possible chance of capturing enough electoral votes to win is not a viable choice. The primary reason for the results cited in this survey and many others like it is that millennials don’t like the candidates.
Millennials are not the only ones citing their dislike of the candidates as a reason to sit it out or vote for a third party candidate. Older people, who should know better, are grumbling and whining the same song: “I won’t vote, or I’ll waste my vote on a candidate or party that is not viable because I don’t like the actual candidates. I will take my bat and ball and go home, or I will stage an emotional protest by voting for someone who is not ever going to be able to capture the office. I’ll show them how much I dislike them by having no say in which one has an effect on my life or my country’s future. Yeah that will show them!”
Yes, both candidates have pretty major flaws, and due to those flaws, millennials have taken the stance that neither one of these candidates deserves their vote. The fact of the matter is, sometimes in life there are no good choices, only choices to be made. If you don’t vote in this election, or you blow it with some lame protest by voting against the viable options, you are sending a message that speaks of entitlement and apathy. Worse, you are ignoring the men and women all over the globe who would kill and die for those ‘peas.’
It is especially crucial for everyone eligible to vote to exercise his or her ability to vote. We are at a dangerous crossroads in our country and on the world stage. This past campaign season has exhibited a lack of civilized exchange, and has exacerbated a wide variety of issues that people across the country were already divided on. This election is one of the most important ones in American history, comparable to the pre-Civil War era election. It will determine our future as a country. It could determine our credibility as a world power, and it will determine our safety from radical enemies of freedom.
So, if you are whining that you don’t like who is running, then go make your pro-con list and make a viable choice. It is your privilege, your right, and your responsibility to make the hard pragmatic choice of who leads our country. If you still think voting is lame or doesn’t matter, then think of these folks when you sit out this election or throw a voter tantrum and vote for the non-candidate:
A Chinese dissident, who is doing hard labor for “thinking against the state.” The North Korean prisoner, jailed for life as a sentence, because his family fled and reached South Korea.
A woman in Yemen who cannot leave the house without her husband and is considered “half a witness” in any trial proceeding.
A woman in Saudi Arabia, who was recently forced to marry her rapist.
African Americans in this country, who not only fought brutal battles to gain their right to vote, but then had to fight all over again in some regions to register to vote.
If you could ask any one of these suffering citizens if they would rather have to vote for a terribly flawed candidate versus live under an oppressive rule with no vote, you would rethink your position in this campaign season. So, stop whining and go eat your peas!