By Gina Magnuson
On November 5th, the vast majority of the class came together in an attempt to gauge public opinion about the coming election. We initially began with two posters: one read “Why I am Voting” and the other read “Why I am not Voting.” We attempted to flag down students who were on their way to lunch or class, and, gradually, students began to voice their reasons behind choosing to or not to vote. Interestingly, more students began to congregate around our table once more of our classmates showed their support, making the table look more inviting in a group setting. This phenomena could be attributed to mob mentality, encouraging strength in numbers rather than singularity. Once our initial posters were filled to the brim with responses, our team decided to add in an additional question: “Does voting matter?”
From what I observed, the results were partial to “Yes Voting Matters” and “I Voted.” The reasons behind all of the opinions varied–a common theme was “Pro-Obama, Anti-Romney” indicating that (at least the Pomona campus population) is relatively liberal in politics. Many people took issue with Romney’s stance on immigration and abortion; one commenter noted the struggles her parent’s faced coming to America as undocumented immigrants and how she does not want to elect president who does not support her family. A few women noted the history of women’s suffrage and how this is a hard-earned right women must exercise. To me, one of the most poignant responses to “Why are you voting?” was “Because it is a privilege.” Living in a country so inculcated with basic civil rights (as corrupt or inconclusive as they are) Americans often forget those places that don’t have the luxury of voting.
When confronted with the actual question “does voting matter,” I noticed that many participants easily answered “yes” or “no,” but paused to ponder the actual reasons behind voting. Some said “because if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain” or “because I care about the fate of our country,” but others seemed taken aback by this question. It is easy to take a stance, but actually vocalizing you opinions as a body living in this reality, communicating with other living bodies, is a whole other ballgame.