“Don’t boo, vote.”
With the Philadelphia Museum of Art to his right and a wonderfully diverse cheering crowd to his left, President Barack Obama encouraged citizens in Philadelphia on Tuesday, September 13, to act on their civic duties.
Numerous college students attended the event, most of them anxious at the prospect of voting for the first time in November. As this year’s political race continues to heat up, students might be wondering why it’s important to vote when their choices are, well…interesting.
Even though I am an avid fan of politics and a public policy junkie, I still understand how nauseating our political process can be. Social media is great, but it can cause a lot of the facts surrounding policy issues to get lost in translation. This causes the election process to become more of a “he said, she said” kind of game. All the while college students across the nation are asking themselves, “Why should I even care about this?”
Brianna Melhorn, a Temple University freshman and Global Studies major, was also present at the rally and listened intently to Obama’s message. When Fresh U asked her how Obama’s speech impacted her, she noted:
"Our country isn’t as unified as much as we should be, but being in the crowd with the large diversity of races and age groups made me feel very unified. I felt like we were a strong nation and I got emotional about it.”
That feeling of unity is exactly what the Clinton campaign is hoping will win them the White House this fall. President Obama referenced this feeling several times and at one point had the crowd chanting “love trumps hate.”
College students specifically are critical in this election because our votes will represent what our future looks like. Melhorn also commented, “Philadelphia has the largest population of millennials. College students have a huge voice in this election and I think politicians are starting to realize that.”
As I listened to President Obama from the sixth row of the crowd last week, I couldn’t help but appreciate his enthusiasm. Today’s college students are the next generation of American leaders. The person we elect will oversee our country as we fully transition into adult lives over the next four years and that is an important choice to make.
Instead of following our tendency to withdraw from politics in all of the muck of the campaigning, hopefully college students will continue to be more engaged in the political process. If you find yourself displeased with rhetoric or nauseous from all the debates, don’t boo the candidates. Get out there and vote.
Lead Image Credit: Amanda Morrison