Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Non-voting Americans allow Nazis to rise

Former presidents usually bow out of public view and do things like build houses or paint portraits, but former President Barack Obama decided to break the norm. Standing in front of University of Illinois students, the former president lambasted President Trump and the entire Republican Party. At the end of his, speech the student body was invigorated, yet nothing changed. 
Americans feel like their vote is insignificant and that the whole political sphere is just all a soap opera. Many cite the power of the Electoral College to elect the president, for example, as one thing that drives this viewpoint. Decisive times have caused a drift in civic engagement. Why would someone go and wait in a thirty-minute line to cast a vote that would not make a difference? That’s the question that many citizens seem to have asked and answered in 2016. The presidential election only saw a turnout of 58% according to a PBS article by Michael Regan. A good 42% of Americans stayed home during the 2016 presidential election.
After Obama spoke at U of I, classes went back to normal and everyone went on with their activities.
We shouldn’t do that.
Stop watching Netflix. Instead, inform yourself on candidates’ positions on the issues. This year is an election year and nobody cares. I meet people all the time that complain that the country is down the toilet and that their voice doesn’t matter. I agree that your voice doesn’t matter when you don’t vote. Yet voting without knowledge is like skydiving without a parachute.
This lack of knowledge is not helped by the prevalent social norm of avoiding any political discussion. We can’t have discourse when we must be polite or the exact opposite where everything has become so partisan that the fellow citizen is seen as a threat. This has lead to unorthodox ways of deciding how to vote.
Voting for a candidate because you like his hair: no. Voting for a candidate because you don’t like black people: no. Voting for a candidate because you always vote for your party: no. People wonder why their representatives don’t reflect their views and ideas. It may be because they didn’t vote or voted for the guy who says he only can fix it. 
As people avoid any political talk because it is considered taboo, other groups in America are taking a stand with little push-back. Die Nazis stimmen ab (the Nazi’s vote).
Everyone is surprised that Nazis are walking down Elm Street and forgetting that we had Nazis in the 1920s and ’30s. The only reason they left the stage was that our grandfathers beat the living daylights out of them in Europe. Now, Nazis are back and people wonder why. Just maybe it’s the fact that Nazis realize the power of the vote. They go to polls and you just binge watch New Girl.   
Citizens need to start reading up on the candidates and go out and vote. Apathetic Americans are leading the whole country down a path of ignorant leaders.
Former President Obama may just be making the situation grow worse by poking the angry bear, and perhaps his time is best spent out of the spotlight. Yet, this is a different time for the United States where ignorance leads and progress stays inside. Maybe Obama is the knight we need to kick us off our couches and get out and vote. The worst thing to do for your country is to not be involved.

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Non-voting Americans allow Nazis to rise