The weight of a vote

President Obama gave his final State of the Union Address on Jan. 13. Although Washington D.C. is thousands of miles away from Lane, his words on the power of voting ring true here in our community.

A citizen’s duty is as simple as checking a few boxes and then signing their name. The act of voting is itself is one of the most unique parts of being an American. Yet the percentage of voters was down in the 2012 election to a mere 57.5 percent of all eligible citizens, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Out of the 2,113,430 voters eligible in the Oregon primary election, the voting number was severely lower. Only 35 percent of the state actually cast their votes.

“So, my fellow Americans. Our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen,” Obama said. “To vote, to speak out, to stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody somewhere stood up for us.”

His comments don’t have to stop in Washington D.C. Lane has annual elections to choose the leaders that will be making decisions for the following school year. This integral part of the school democracy gets passed over by more than 80 percent of current students, leaving the decisions of the school up to just a few students.

School elections are important. These elected officials are the ones making the decisions as to where the budget will be spent and what clubs will get to do.

So what is the next step for a student who wants to take part in this political system?

Fellow students, take charge of what is to be, do not sit idly by and let others make decisions for the masses. The great gift of democracy is the chance to make massive decisions, however small the individual may be. Do not take this privilege for granted.