Election day is just around the corner, and mailboxes across campus are filling up with stamped and sealed ballots from politically passionate and involved Pilots. Students on The Bluff have engaged in conversation about everything from immigration reform and abortion, to emails and tax returns and students are now ready to cast their vote for the next President of the United States.
Four years ago, when Mitt Romney ran against Barack Obama in the 2012 election, most of us were in high school, and knew very little about the candidates aside from their major party affiliation. Now, as young adults in 2016, it is unacceptable to be uninformed.
Pilots: it is imperative that you remain involved and aware of what is going on in politics not just through Nov. 8, but throughout the next four years. You cast this vote, and you need to remain involved to see it through.
Ignorance around politics exists because so many Americans only make time to have an informed opinion when there is an opening in the Oval Office. If your pick for president is not the person that ends up in office, make sure to vote in the midterm elections to change congress. Following politics in between major elections ensures that you will be well versed on the issues that politicians are dealing with and making decisions about. After all, most of them impact us in more ways than we realize.
Our involvement need not just be on the national level. You can start by reading about the local measures that are featured on your ballot.
For all those registered here in Multnomah County, you can vote on a range of policies from requiring state funding for statewide dropout prevention programs in Oregon high schools, to whether or not marijuana should be taxed. Read the document that came with your ballot that explains each measure, and do any outside research you find necessary in order to cast a vote that you stand behind.
Additionally, filling in bubbles on a ballot is not the only way to be politically involved - you can follow local politics and attend city council meetings to advocate for things that are going on in Portland and you can get involved with nonprofit organizations or social movements. You can even get involved on a hyper-local level by attending ASUP Senate meetings and voting in their elections.
As college students, it can be hard to find time to stay up-to-date, but there are lots of ways to get news: subscribe to The Skimm, follow local and national and international news outlets on Twitter and Facebook, and then don’t forget to take advantage of your UP peers by engaging in conversation with other students and asking your professors about what you read.
Politics exist and matter outside every four years, and as responsible citizens and educated young people, we need to remain politically aware and involved throughout this next Presidential term on both national and local levels.