Making your voice matter

By Stephi Smith, Executive Editor


“Why do we have to keep talking about politics?”

The voice of apathy interrupts the conversation, cutting a productive voice in half.

It’s not a quiet voice. It’s raised above the others, eyes looking around as everyone stops in their tracks.

I’m not sure when it became cool not to care about politics, but it’s a dangerous act.

This particular upcoming presidential election is the result. People are now looking at both candidates and realizing they don’t particularly like either one. It’s “picking between the lesser of two evils,” they say as they mindlessly watch the debates.

This isn’t something random. This election shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s the effect of people not caring, not voting, not paying attention, not making their own voices heard. It’s what happens when so many people just don’t care.

Because so many people have just ignored politics as a whole, they now feel “stuck” with two candidates who they believe cannot better their country significantly. It’s because society hasn’t spoken up. After having their decisions made for them by people who do care, they have to suffer the consequences of being stuck with two candidates they don’t want to vote for.

There’s the famous quote, “decisions are made by those who show up.” It was spoken by a fictional character from the T.V. show the West Wing, but it couldn’t be more real, especially now.

By not caring, you’re allowing others who do to decide what your country will be. It’s the people who cast their votes and pay attention political change who will make the differences.

A lot of times, politics seems far off and distant. Most of us live in a comfortable house and our parents work salary-paid jobs, so there doesn’t seem to be a need to march the streets for change.

However, it does affect you. For example, there’s a new initiative, known as I-1433, concerning every person working off the minimum wage in Washington state. The bill would ensure that every Washington worker can earn paid sick and safe leave and would raise the minimum wage to $13.50 phased-in over four years.

So while this may not affect you or even your family directly, it will affect many others. A minimum-wage worker at a nearby fast food restaurant is most likely not on paid sick leave and, if sick, will have to choose between going to work and possibly infecting more people or staying home and losing money.

And, hopefully, as a citizen, you care about that choice. Whether or not you’re in favor of I-1433, or any other ballot measure for that matter, you care enough about your own thoughts and opinions to make them heard either by means of voting or discussion

So why do we have to keep talking about politics, apathetic voice? Because if you don’t, you’ll always have your decisions made for you.