Why You Should Care About the U.S. Election, Even if You Cannot Vote

Evan Pfeffer

The upcoming 2020 election is going to be one of the most important elections of the twenty-first century. While the majority of the students at SPASH, including myself, are unable to vote, that does not mean that we should ignore this election. Some may say that neither candidate is good, and while I do not completely disagree, there is an objectively better choice for a position that has such a strong influence over our lives. The outcome of this election will determine our futures for years to come, and ignoring the election shows apathy over one’s future.

As high school students, our current and future education is one of the many topics up for debate during this election. There is little information about any plans for education on Trump’s official website but according to the Washington Post, the current president “decries free college as part of a socialist agenda.” The president’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has supported defunding the Department of Education by billions of dollars and has tried to divert federal funding from public schools to privately-owned schools. DeVos has also agreed with President Trump with his views on post-secondary education and has attempted to end any form of  that we currently have in place. 

His opponent, on the other hand, Joe Biden, has introduced a comprehensive plan for education that includes coverage for community colleges, four-year-universities, and training programs for jobs that don’t require post-secondary schooling. His coverage focuses especially on the fact that lower-income families are frequently unable to gain access to these forms of education, and explicitly states that his goal is to help expand the middle-class through better education after high school. He also opposes using public funds for charter and religious schools.

Another issue that is going to affect SPASH students is the environmental policy of each candidate. Rising sea levels are not going to affect any of us living in the Midwest, but we are still going to feel the effects of climate change through more severe heat waves, heavier flooding, and stronger winter storms. It is clear that we need to do what we can to mitigate the effects of climate change, however, the current administration has chosen to repeal over 100 environmental regulations, along with withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump’s tax plan has allowed corporations to continue polluting the environment without repercussions and he has accepted donations from multiple fossil-fuel-based companies. His handling of climate change has led to years of lost progress in the fight for our planet.

While climate change is already affecting the planet, we still have time to stop it, and Joe Biden recognizes that fact. Joe Biden has promised to enact new legislation that will make the United States carbon neutral by 2050, which is the absolute limit to halt climate change, and according to Politifact, Biden has supported actions to help the environment since the 1980s. Biden plans to build infrastructure that will help alleviate the effects of climate change and plans on introducing a carbon tax that will hold companies accountable for what they put out into the environment. Unlike Trump, Biden has a long record of fighting for the environment, and should he be elected, he will continue to do so.

There are those that argue that the youth should not care about the election. As one anonymous student put it, “I can’t do anything to change the election.” Their reasoning was mostly due to the fact that they cannot vote yet. Voting is inarguably the most effective way to change the results of an election, as practically every election in the United States has been decided exclusively by votes. While age restrictions have eliminated voting as an option for many students at SPASH, there are still ways that we can make our voices heard. By encouraging others to vote and spreading information about the election, those unable to vote can begin their participation in the democratic process. 

No matter what you believe in, there is no denying that this election is important to our futures. Our education and the future of our planet are just some of the many things that are at stake. There is no reason not to care about the election, and even though most of the student body will not be submitting a ballot this year, there are still opportunities for us to participate in the electoral process. It may feel like the world gets more chaotic every day, but when we have control over a small part of it, it can make the future seem just a little bit brighter.