I am exhausted. We are exhausted. Our education is costly. Our labor feels undervalued. We are taunted by the complaints and threats of a generation that took advantage of every opportunity available to white America in the post-World War II way of life, all while we must live in a society they crafted that had no regard for our opportunity.
In life, we basically have two tools: what we do, and what we say. There is no doubt that we need to invest our labor and time into thoughtful institutions and communities – places that reward (and properly credit!) the perspectives that extend from our unique identities properly.
We need ways of life that can be sustained, ways that are resilient against violence and hatred. Democracy must be key to this, and when we demand more democracy in our education, work, and life.
We should also engage with our current democratic institutions. Maybe I sound like some old guy telling you it’s your civic duty to vote, but it’s more than that. To see real, material benefits from our society, we need to reject a political class that has a vested interest in working against us.
Anyone who cares about their bank account, healthcare, environment, education, and more need to look at the zero-sum game of our (effectively two party) democracy and make a decision.
Politics and ethics are worlds more nuanced, but in our system, your electoral loss is your opposition’s gain.
Here’s how you win that zero sum game.
1. Register to vote
By the time you’re reading this, you likely have about a week left to register if you plan on voting in Michigan, on or off campus. Go to michigan.gov/ vote, click on “How do I register to vote?” and follow those steps. In person or by mail, you’ll need your driver’s license, personal ID card, paycheck stub, utility bill, bank document or government document that lists both your name and your address (a photocopy of those if it’s by mail). Do this before October 9th!
2. Make a plan to vote
Experts working in redistricting and voter discrimination believe that state law requires that you either register in person or vote once in person before you can vote absentee in an effort to reduce the turnout of students and those with disabilities.
This poses a challenge, so be careful when you decide whether to register to vote on campus, or back home (you can choose either-don’t listen to those who say it will complicate things like car insurance, this address only matters for where you vote).
If you are voting on campus, identify your polling place. If you are voting back home, make sure you have a plan to get there in time , as the polls close at 8 PM. However, if you are in line by 8 PM, poll workers have to let you vote. If you choose to vote absentee, make that decision as soon as possible.
The final deadline is November 3rd, but you should make sure to have as much time as possible to get your ballot. The absentee application can be found on michigan.gov/vote
3. Turn out to vote
Once you’ve made your plan, talk with your friends here at Alma. Talk to friends back home, or elsewhere around the country. Get as many of your allies out to vote on November 6th. Please, don’t sit this one out.