Luc Bryant ’22
Since coverage of the 2020 election started to heat up, it seems the whole world has been overwhelmed with messages reminding you to vote: “This election is the most important of our lifetime!” “All votes count!” If you have a phone, or social media, or at least access to the internet, you have almost certainly come across a friend or colleague pushing the message urging all people, especially young people, to find a way for their vote to be counted. I know I have. These messages are by no means new, but every four years when the chief’s job is up for grabs, the cries become almost deafening and their numbers suffocating.
I fear that the constant inundation of the message, however, can eventually become harmful, and eventually depreciate the meaning of the message. As a result of all the platitudes and posts, eventually the saying “all votes count” begins to sound a bit parodical. Once that inkling gestates into a full belief, it has the possibility to spread to multiple sources, and we all know how easily spread ideas are nowadays, popular or not. I fear most that I am not alone in this belief.
Now, if you are looking for a counterargument to having a near-one-hundred-percent voter turnout for any demographic, then you are in the wrong place. Fighting against the importance of the largest possible turnout is dangerous, if not at least entirely futile.
Ask any group of Americans and you are sure to receive several different understandings and ideas about why your vote matters. Some believe every vote regardless of position has the same weight to it, and thus no one vote should be discounted. Others think the actualization of democracy and the true will of the people can only be realized once every eligible voter sends in their ballot.
Do you remember that one thing your parents told you to do as a child, and that you constantly ignored because the more they said it, the more you questioned its importance? For me, it was homework. Though I would like to think society has grown beyond being hung up on basic developmental problems, every now and then I watch someone in the news force me to question this belief. Even though going against popular ideas is looked down upon, the principle of questioning societal standards has been fairly beneficial in terms of our evolution. Where would we be if scholars had not questioned the teachings of religion and governance? How would history have unfolded if we were content as a species with the natural state of being? The greatest progress is made by taking risks.
Ultimately, it is important to know why, as a member of this country, your vote is important and critical. Let your definition be meaningful only to you, and not just the same recycled jingles pushed by social media companies and political groups. Know your importance as a citizen, as a subject of democracy, and as a member of the modern age in this country. And never forget to do what you, as an individual, believe is best.