November 4th and the importance of voting: Destroy apathy, create alchemy

By Jessy Hegland
heglandje@mnstate.edu

A week from now is Nov. 4th — the day we have the explicit chance to stand up, speak out, and make a difference.
I was 20 years old during the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain, and I was too jaded and apathetic to care. I thought my vote really didn’t matter.
I didn’t vote and I regret it.  After thinking about all the fighting that took place to ensure my right to vote, I had the audacity to feel apathetic and not participate because I was manipulated to believe my vote and voice do not matter.
Where did I get that idea?
It was the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. I saw that Gore won the popular vote, and Bush still became president. I was young, but I could understand what numbers meant.
My mom explained the Electoral College to me, but for many years after I felt like it was all just one big sham. It’s like choosing between two evils. This so-called democracy has turned into an oligarchy that’s a safe haven for corporations but a battleground for the rest of us.  Money should not buy elections and policies; our voices should count.
But that’s what those in power want us to think—that we are powerless. This demographic — the college student demographic — is powerful. We just need to realize it. Why do you think those in power are trying to make it so hard for anyone to vote? It’s because they know we can sway elections.
The measures that will be voted on in North Dakota this election cycle impact all of us.  The political has become highly personal, and it’s vital now more than ever to pay attention; to double and triple check sources, and to think critically about what these measures mean.  One of the measures, Measure 1, will impact all of life as we know it.
I urge you all to vote NO on Measure 1. It states the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development. This would impact families’ rights to plan through IVF services (In Vitro Fertilization for families that can’t otherwise have children and want them). This would also impact end of life care (the wishes of yourself and loved ones will not be respected should the measure pass), and would also affect a woman’s right to her own body, even if she is a victim of incest, rape, or a life-threatening pregancy.
If a woman has a miscarriage, she would be put under investigation. If your loved one is in a coma or vegetative state and has “do not resuscitate” written on their living will, that will not be respected. I believe my parents and older relatives deserve to have their wishes respected.
I am voting NO on Measure 1 because I believe that the government does not have the right to make personal decisions for us. I am voting NO because I believe in the separation of church and state. I am voting NO because I believe the true way to end abortion is through education and birth control (which has been proven to work). I am voting NO because I believe the government is not a doctor. I am voting NO because I believe that women are human beings. I am voting NO because this measure is poorly worded and is going to impact all of us. Get to the polls, sign up for an absentee ballet and vote because all of our lives depend on it.
I just sent in my absentee ballot. If you are a North Dakota resident, you can get your absentee ballot here: vip.sos.nd.gov/absentee/.
If you are not a North Dakota resident, I still urge you to think about it and tell other people about this vote. This vote is even going to impact Minnesota because people in the state still use the services at North Dakota hospitals.
This voting season is one of the most crucial and important in our lives.  If we don’t do something about it now, we are going to regret it in the future. Right now, the present, is the chance to change the course of history.  Destroy the apathy that society has created around us 20-somethings to fall into and instead create alchemy to unite our voices to shape the world we believe should exist. We have had the power all along.

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