It is time.
The campaigns are over. The contenders have fallen – momentarily – silent. And on this day of almost-religious importance to the survival of a democracy, there is only one thing to do: Vote.
Over and over, the consequences of this presidential election have been paraded across the television, over the airwaves and even here in the pages of your own Temple News. But none of those sources has anything to say about what happens today.
It is up to all American citizens -liberal or conservative, old or young, Republican or Democrat, passionate or disinterested – to take time today review the issues, grab some ID, find a polling place and cast a ballot. This year one ballot might actually alter the outcome of the election, and thus the future of the country that all those groups call home, for years to come.
The excuses for not voting are too numerous to list. Even some professors here at Temple have refused to grant students an excused absence to give them time to cast a ballot. But the relative value of voting versus missing one class, one hour of sleep, one trip to the gym, one chat with a friend, one anything that might replace that one hour of citizenship is diminished entirely by the significance of voting.
College students are notorious for plenty of things: using big words, sleeping till noon, partying all night long and until this year, not voting.
It’s time to reverse at least that last long-standing trend. Not all traditions are meant to stand forever. Record numbers of students have registered this year. Corpulent white liberals and blinged-out hip-hoppers have united for the first time to encourage young people to register, to research and to record their choices today.
Attention has been paid, and the pay-off could be huge – but only if college students raise their voices at the polls for whatever cause they believe in.
Whether abortion offends your religious sensibilities or the war in Iraq offends your moral sensibilities, whether you think John Kerry looks like a basset hound or George W. Bush reminds you of the missing link, whether you feel passionately about one candidate or are simply choosing the lesser of two evils, voting is the essential item on your agenda today. There will be other days for going to the gym, hanging out with friends, going to class, or sleeping late. There will likely never be another day in the history of our country as important as today.
So get up. Take off those running shoes. Blow off your friends. Borrow a friend’s notes.
Because today, while the campaigns are over and the candidates are temporarily silent, it is your time.
An open letter from The Temple News