Opinion | Speak up students because your voice really does count
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 22:10
Dear readers, please note this is not another desperate plea to ‘go vote’ (although you should do that anyway), so just stick with me and hear me out here.
We have all been hearing it, especially this time of year: make sure you vote.
Make sure you are registered, you have filled out an absentee ballot if necessary, participate in early voting if you want and please make sure you get to the polls on Nov. 6.
But what we need to hear and know is that elections are not the only time our voices matter.
Yes, your voice really does count. Your opinion matters in so many more ways than just a nameless ballot towards the presidential candidate of your choice.
As part of the Millennial Generation we are the ones who will be stepping up next and taking the responsibility of trying to improve this world (because this world does need improving).
We may be under the impression that we are only college students, and nothing we say or do will make a difference. This is a large mistake to think and to presume of us.
Our opinions, our thoughts and our actions really do count and can possibly make the change that we are looking for. We are likely not only some of the most influential voters but also the game changers for the future.
Take for instance Miami’s political culture. Many may think that the majority of the student body is Republican conservative. In actuality, we are divided pretty equally between conservative, liberal and independent students.
However this is simply not represented because some voices are louder and more organized than others.
Case in short, if you want your political opinion to be heard by an audience or by anyone, you need to speak up.
Currently at Brown University an initiative called the Janus Forum allows students to voice their opinions and engage in thoughtful discussion and debate.
According to the Brown University Political Theory Project website page, the forum aims for “students to examine as many different perspectives and ideologies as possible… we believe that there are at least two sides to explore on all critical issues.”
We may seem like we are not a diverse university only because not everyone is being represented. We all have the right to freedom of speech, so why not use it? The opportunity to use your voice and speak your frustrations, opinions, ideas and qualms regarding present or future matters should not be overlooked.
One of the good things about living in this country is that we have what are often seen as basic human rights—the right to free speech and freedom of the press. And more often than not, these are taken advantage of.
I have to wonder why on earth we would see these as rights that everyone should have, then almost completely ignore and abandon them. There are other people in the world who do not have these same rights, who are continuously silenced, and yet we stand here in an over privileged society and complain when things don’t work out our way.
There’s a good chance things didn’t work out because we didn’t stand up and speak out.
Take more opportunities to not only share your thoughts but to also educate yourself about your opinions. A well-formed argument can only happen with some research. And who knows, you may even surprise yourself and completely change your mind about a subject you originally felt strongly about.
But as college students who will eventually have to leave the safe, comfortable bubbles of our college campuses and go out into the “real world,” we are the ones who should be speaking out.
Too often maybe the voice of a college student is brushed aside because absolutely everyone knows we’re all just too wasted or too ensconced in our own collegiate world to think clearly about politics or foreign affairs.
Well, if someone were to take a good look around this campus and see the diverse number of organizations, speakers and events that constantly go on, they would be surprised.
These misconceptions are exactly what should be motivating us to speak out and to speak out more.
But we shouldn’t be just speaking out—we should be yelling from rooftops and screaming at the top of our lungs because simply speaking won’t get us heard (just think of us as the Who’s that Horton heard).
You have no right to complain about a situation if you do nothing to try and change that situation. If you want to see something change or don’t like something, you can always try to change it—the emphasis here being on the word try.
So make your voice heard, starting with the November elections.