Being busy not excuse to disregard valuable democratic processes

Columnist and Columnist

Something that is garnering much discussion early on this election season is the low voter turnout in states that have hosted elections thus far.

While some statistics show that voter turnout (compared to 2008) increased in a few of the states that have hosted primary elections in the last month, many states argue that if you subtract the number of non-Republicans voting in the primaries, voter participation is actually down significantly among the party base.

Americans always seem to agree we have the best country in the world, in part, because of our system of participatory politics.

Which makes me wonder, in a country where citizens are encouraged to participate in the political process, why are people so reluctant to play a part in the very system that they often say is the best in the world?

I think, at least for me, the answer has always come down to complacency and the busy nature of life.

Many times I have gotten so caught up in my own life that I felt I didn’t have the time to participate in the system, or to try to do something for the greater good.

This has been the case with me for years. I have always been a very idealistic person, who is not afraid to rally around a cause in theory.

I will talk about the validity of the issue and post Facebook statuses telling all my friends how I feel about it, but when it comes down to volunteering my time, I never seem to have extra to spare.

This is not surprising, being that I am married to a University of Toledo College of Law student and a father to a beautiful 3 1/2-year-old daughter, all while being a full-time student.

Still, I feel like I need to do more. And while that may not mean participating more in the political system on a grand scale, I think I can do more where I am at.

I want to be more than a University student, but a member of the University community.

With this in mind, I joined the Undergraduate Student Government as an off-campus senator.

Being a member of a legislative body is certainly a new experience for me, but it is one I think I will enjoy.

The main reason I decided to join USG was that I liked the idea of being able to be a mouthpiece for the student body, and one of 10 representatives for the large off-campus population.

As an off-campus senator, I will focus on the needs of all off-campus students; specifically I would like to focus on the needs of other non-traditional, off-campus students like myself.

While every student at the University has challenges and issues that they deal with every day – and I am understanding and sympathetic to them all – it’s the challenges of non-traditional students who have families and other work commitments that I can best relate to.

As a USG senator, I hope to tap into the talent and determination of all University students. I know the only way that I can be a good USG senator is to listen to your concerns, ideas and advice.

This is why fellow off-campus senator (and fellow columnist) Mathew Davoli and I have organized a town hall style meeting and are inviting all off-campus students to come have a discussion with us and other USG off-campus senators about any issues or problems they would like to see addressed by their student government.

The meeting will be next Thursday, Feb. 16, from 6-8 p.m. in room 316 Union.

Please come out and talk to your student representatives so we can possibly serve you better.

Maybe if we all participate in our democracy a little more – whether on a larger level or in our school community – we will all be a little more pleased with the end goal that we are able to achieve.

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