By Andrea Ordonez
Last week, I received an email from RocktheVote.com reminding me, in a nice mesh of black, gray and red colors, to vote in the mid-term elections this November. The email did not bring the "happy-go-lucky I get to vote!" feeling it did two years ago during the 2008 presidential election. Instead, the combination brought about enough feelings of anger towards President Obama's initiatives, making me wish the mid-term elections were tomorrow so I could go out and vote.
A majority of college students would consider themselves Democrats and not members of the Grand Old Party. Why? Perhaps because the name GOP sounds antiquated to begin with. Maybe because it's the party of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Or possibly because the party disapproves social issues like gay marriage and abortion. If these are the primary reasons college kids put a check on the Democrat affiliation box on their voter registration, then they arguably live in blissful ignorance of the economic mess the country's in.
Although social issues are important, students should face the economic reality surrounding them and take that into consideration before they choose whom to vote for. While the economy seems to act as the motivator for older demographics to vote, the 18-29 age group is one of the major groups most affected by the recession and climbing unemployment. Companies are less likely to hire new graduates or current students because of their lack of degrees and work experience, and strict school schedules.
Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are supportive of the social issues most college students have concerns about. But they are also cool with giving those same kids a bulk of taxes to support a $787 billion economic stimulus bill and universal health care reform.
What's great about either one of those initiatives to begin with? With the stimulus, this generation gets the promise (keyword: promise) of 3.5 million jobs, taxes that keep from paying off college debts, and a future that probably does not include a Social Security award when reaching retirement. With universal health care, this current generation gets to stay on its parents' health insurance plans until age 26…oh, and more taxes to pay for government-funded health insurance.
Most of the college generation deems itself Democrat or true liberals when they only brush the surface of these groups' core beliefs. In actuality, if a majority of college kids knew what having libertarian political views meant (less government involvement in the economy but liberal stances in social issues), they probably would associate themselves with that.
Regardless of what motivated college students to vote in previous presidential elections, they must realize that so much is at stake socially and economically across the country this midterm election, and that their votes are essential. According to USAToday, only 22 percent of the 18-29 age demographic consists of regular voters. So why does the other 78 percent think it has a place to complain?
In the upcoming weeks, students should take the time to register to vote in the midterm elections and really listen to candidate platforms. Doing so shows both the federal and state governments that the youngest generation takes its right to vote seriously, and will be further influenced by future economic and social initiatives.