By Leonardo Flores (also published on Queer Forum, Craig’s List)
My eyes flutter open and golden dust floats across, I start my day at 10:50 am. Rolling over to my right I reach for my IPAD and check my email. Awkward how I don’t thank God for life or kiss my boyfriend good morning, but I am ready to check my futuristic life schedule. A yellow flag on the left hand side of the bold print alerted me, guiding me to the source like the star of Bethlehem. The email read, “do not forget your site activity today”. Immediately I knew I forgot but thanked a higher power that I was reminded through a impersonal Internet connection.
Sluggishly, I strolled over to the Smith Campus Center attempting to look awake and alert. My colleagues had already scouted a site, set up post, and begun a trek toward raising voter awareness. Three tabula razas sprawled atop white plastic and questioned individual’s action of voting or not for the president.
Gazing over the tables, I started at my left for I had to confess my selfishness for not voting. I colorfully admitted, “I will not vote because I am an absent-minded individual who did not care for this presidential election.” A disconnect from my present reality was shared by others, but for many the privilege of voting was not granted—especially for International Students.
As I moved to the opposite side a contrast blinded me, but I wonder if it was the crowded brightness created by colorful scribbling. The slab of thin white paper carried the voices of over 20 individuals who expressed great individuality in their reason for voting. Answers ranged from personal reasoning to the greater influence of society; from a valued responsibility to a forsaken privilege.
Even though people pretended to be busy, scurried away and did not want to engage in political discussion, those who chose to participate were more likely to vote. Of those who voted, a majority believed they needed to do so because it was a civil responsibility that carried their voice. Ultimately, they felt as if their vote made a difference. On the other hand, those who confessed a reason for not voting were apathetic, lazy, or missed deadlines.
Overall, today’s activity of engaging in political discussion within a public space provided reassurance. The question of why today’s youth is not voting is perhaps multi-variable with education being a confounding factor. Even though a small portion gave reason for not voting, the stigma of not being politically active within an academic space may have hindered expression from this sample. For me, today’s activity gave me some solace in thinking about political life and involvement for future generations.