The candidates will have to wait for my vote
By Kierstin Brown | Media Editor
November 5, 2012
I’m 18. I can buy cigarettes, I can take my chances in the Super Lotto, I can go directly to jail and not pass go and not collect $200.
But one thing I can’t do, mostly because of my irresponsibility and not being aware of the deadline, is vote in this year’s election.
While reveling in the thought of being 18, I forgot–in the glory of my newly minted adult coolness–to register to vote.
Sure, my mom, teachers, and friends reminded me to register.
In response, I would always say something like, “I’ll do it after I’ve finished homework.” or “I’ll do it when I have free time.”
But as life would have it, there was always a load of dishes to wash, an essay to write, or a Modern Family episode to watch.
Because in my silly teenager mind my personal entertainment was more important than the fate of my country, at first I did not feel bad about not registering.
One consolation that went through my mind to justify my mishap was, “California is already a liberal state so my vote has basically already been cast.”
Another was, “I’ll probably have a ton of homework on election night, so it’s actually in my benefit not to go to the polls.”
The problem with these justifications is that they are shallow and selfish and in no way reflect the whole “We the people” thing our forefathers stood for and fought for, and for which I stand as well.
I realize a democracy doesn’t work if citizens are apathetic.
So I’m owning up to my mistake and irresponsibility as a citizen.
Yes, it’s embarrassing. Yes, I wish I had taken 10 minutes before watching the premiere of Modern Family to go online to register.
Being 18 is cool. I don’t have to get my parent’s signature on official documents and I don’t have a legal curfew (“legal” being the key word because I still have involved parents).
The main thing about being 18 is that means I am recognized as an adult.
I can buy cigarettes because the government believes I am responsible enough to know not to buy cancer sticks of death.
I can buy lotto tickets because the government believes I am responsible enough to spend my money as I please.
If I commit a crime I will go to jail because the government believes I am old enough know the consequences of my poor choices.
In terms of voting, I did not prove myself to be responsible, despite the government’s belief in me.
Being an adult means making sacrifices and setting priorities that will sometimes put watching my favorite TV show on the bottom of the list.
So in four years when I can participate again in the national election, you better believe I’ll be recording Modern Family on my DVR because I am determined to vote.