Take time to vote, or suffer consequences

We’ve got pink bunnies with teeth trolling for voters, candidates going wild and a war referendum with no teeth, all designed to lure our demographic of apathetic and well-fed 18 to 29 year-olds to the polls this November.

It seems we need rabid rabbits to grab our attention, like a cotton-candy lure for kids who already have everything they need. And if this generation’s voting record is any indicator, the world had better watch out. American policies, backed by tanks and missiles, will continue to be dictated by a handful of powerful people. Meanwhile, the rest of us will stare glassy-eyed at CSI reruns.

Policies decided by the government affect every aspect of our lives; from the ice caps getting slushier all the time to the Social Security tax we pay but will never see again. Not only are we affected by these decisions made in our name, so are the lives of people across the globe.

While thinking about this stuff seems to put a strain our privileged psyches – that’s depressing, you say – actually doing something is really tough. But while we continue pretending nothing is wrong, bridges and levees crumble with no money to fix them and army reservists work triple time to protect Exxon and Texaco.

As the United States geared up for war in 2003, only 13 percent of college students could find Iraq on a map. How can Americans make decisions on issues if we don’t even know what they are?

While bad TV and Britney’s latest legal challenges pacify many of us, our national priorities are getting so skewed that we would prefer to pay Blackwater than give children health care.

If that’s not your vision, you’d better vote.

In the presidential election of 2004, almost half of voters ages 18 to 29 voted; in 2006, only 24 percent got off the couch to cast a vote. And that’s actually an improvement over other years.

Forty years ago, when the government was eavesdropping on American citizens and stirring up trouble abroad, college students took to the streets and demanded change. Why isn’t that happening today?

We’ve all got stuff to do- classes, jobs and everything else gets in the way. But voting takes two minutes.

Otherwise, by the time we wake up, it could be too late.

Jessica Mayrer writes for the Kalmin, the student newspaper at the University of Montana at Missoula.