Young people should be active in voting

Madelyn Schorr

On Monday, Jeb Bush announced he would seek the Grand Old Party nomination for the 2016 election. His announcement brings the list of candidates vying for the GOP nomination to almost a dozen. With Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley already declaring their candidacy for the Democratic nomination, it seems like everyone and their mother is running for president these days.

As the list of candidates gets large enough to fill a baseball lineup, we have to select a candidate who is innovative and willing to make substantial change. I am not advocating for a specific candidate or telling you who to vote for. With almost 16 months until the election, I haven’t even decided myself. What I am suggesting is that you do your research and decide which candidate aligns with your values and will work to create a better country for everyone. We should not accept an election cycle full of mudslinging, but instead, we need to rethink how we engage with politics and not forget that we hold the future in our hands with our vote.

As young people, we are often told the only way we can engage with politics is by giving our time to canvassing and donating what little money we may have back to the campaign. We are rarely seen as people who have solid ideas that should be taken into consideration. While we may be young, that doesn’t mean the ideas we have for the future should be ignored today. Many of us are lucky enough to go to a university with brilliant professors who are experts in their fields. We also have access to the vast resources our library has to offer. By utilizing our resources, students are able to produce ideas to change 
their communities.

Unlike the gridlock seen in Congress, local governments are thriving on innovative ideas to change their cities. It can even be as simple as a university changing their procurement policies to buy more goods from local, minority and women-owned businesses to ensure their economic security and kick-start economic development in the surrounding area. In Tuscaloosa, we could pressure local officials to change the city ordinance preventing companies like Uber and Lyft from coming to campus. By having these companies on campus, you are offering students an alternative to drinking 
and driving.

There are many similarities between the candidates on both sides. Over the years, the right has campaigned on cutting government programs and ending entitlements while the left has tried to replicate the New Deal in some way. There is more potential on both sides to do something new and exciting that breaks away from what we’ve seen in years past. Instead of trying to replicate the past, we need someone who will invest in the future.

Madelyn Schorr is a senior majoring in art and anthropology. Her column 
runs biweekly.