Vote with knowledge

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Vote with knowledge

By Alana Dutson

At Pensacola State College (PSC), out of 73 students surveyed 78 percent of students do not identify themselves as a social activist. While this isn’t a big deal, it is a big deal that 66 percent of students cannot name a Florida senator or representative.

Personally, I do not identify as a social activist. I do not attend marches, rallies or protests (for either party).  I do, however, know enough about politics to make an informed decision, or at least I hope I do.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for many PSC students. I find it shocking that only 34 percent of students can name a Florida senator or representative since most students at PSC should be eligible to vote. Are they just picking names off a page when they vote, do they know who they are voting for and why or do they even vote?

Illustration by Omar Forty

Today, our country is divided between the left and the right, Democrat vs. Republican. If you are a member of one party you are the enemy of the other and vice versa. I have to wonder, is it because we don’t understand politics or is it because we don’t want to?

Everyone seems to be more focused on the political parties they are associated with instead of the issues they care about. Where do your representatives stand on the important topics you are concerned with? Has everyone stuck their heads in the sand and left the deciding up to the 34 percent that know their representatives?

Have you ever told your parents you did something because everyone else was doing it? I know I did. Did you hear the same response? “Well, if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do that too?” Do you trust someone else enough to make an important decision for you? I know I don’t.

Without knowing your representatives, you cannot know what they are voting for and why, or if they even support the causes you care about. Knowing their name and political party isn’t enough. Your political party doesn’t define you; your vote does.

Think of it this way: If you are allergic to peanuts, and I told you to choose between two candy bars based on the coating (white chocolate vs. dark), you would never know that both candy bars were filled with nuts and your decision could kill you.

Now, I’m not saying your vote can kill you, but you get my point. I think we should all take a step back and realize it’s important for everyone to dig down past the coating and find out what the ingredients are.

Activist or not, you should exercise your right to vote. Don’t let the 34 percent be the only ones to influence which issues are in the public eye.