The power of political passion

Every election is consequential, but this year comes with many issues that will dictate the rest of our lives

Carly Snyder

Washington and Lee University students should be well familiar with what politics looks like on a college campus. After all, we have a mock convention every four years. Not only do we have the oldest student-run mock political convention in the country, we also hold the honor of having the most accurate.

Yet, even in a presidential election year — and even on this campus — I hear students humph: “Oh, I’m not really interested in politics.” Perhaps apathy has won, and they are completely indifferent to our current affairs. I choose not to believe this.

Traditionally, college campuses host presidential debates. In an election complicated by this pervasive pandemic, which has up- rooted even the most mundane aspects of our daily life, this role has been threatened. The University of Notre Dame, for example, is unable to host as originally planned. But, college tradition persists: Case Western Reserve University, home of the 2016 Republican National Convention, will host the debate instead.

Not only does preserving the tradition of hosting presidential debates on college campuses ring critical during COVID-19, it more importantly highlights the significance of voter turnout amongst our peers.

I could dismay you with our demographic’s voter statistics, but that would not achieve what I hope this article will convey. Instead, I implore you to register to vote. Our university has provided online resources to help. If you are currently unregistered, please view the resources at Voter Registration.

Many college students refuse to participate in the presidential election, or even remain politically informed, because they fail to understand that ignorance perpetuates problems planted in political leadership. Just as we educated ourselves about candidates running for the Executive Committee and the Student Judicial Council, it is imperative to educate ourselves on the presidential candidates’ stances in order to preserve our union.

Every election is consequential, but this year comes with many issues that will dictate the rest of our lives. The Supreme Court will face two empty seats to fill. The environment will continue to suffer at the hands of climate change. COVID-19 will continue to claim lives at a rapid rate no matter the age, gender, race or sexual orientation of an individual. Race and ethnic inequality and inequity will continue to claim innocent Black lives. We, the people, are the determining factors of who will make these decisions for our nation.

Whether you are planning to cast your vote at the ballot box, an absentee, or through mail-in-voting — it’s your turn to take the stage.