Editorial: Participation Is A Social Responsibility For The 2008 Election

This story was written by Daily Kent Stater Editorial Board, Daily Kent Stater
It's possible if you've been living under a rock for the past two years, and you have no idea that come next Tuesday, Americans have a chance to cast a vote in one of the most important elections in our country's short history. But save for those remote areas on the planet that are still somehow untouched by the devices of modern society - and we know they exist - it's been physically impossible to avoid being inundated with this year's presidential race.

In the era of 24/7 network news channels and an ever-growing number of national non-partisan interest groups, the presidential election has been on everyone's mind for months now. We're supersaturated at this point. You can't go anywhere on campus without finding a poster for rides to the polls or fliers for various election-themed concerts going on in the region. In a New York Times story published a week and a half ago, we were introduced to Beckett, a 5-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., who had begun announcing, "I'm John McCain, and I approved this statement."

Leading up to voter registration deadlines, both campaigns did all but shove undecided and/or unregistered Americans to enlist in one of the most fundamental of our birthrights. Both campaigns know the collective power of swayed, on-the-fence voters, and they did their best to get as many people registered as possible.

While you expect Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to self-promote and their teams to pour time and effort into getting supporters in voting booths on Tuesday to vote one of them into power, private companies have also taken a more visible stake in this year's election. Realizing the electoral strength and collective buying power of our generation, national retailers American Eagle and Gap have both released T-shirts so you can promote voting as you walk from class to class. Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones have lent their time toward promoting. And, of course, the election has driven television shows to the topic - most notably for NBC via "Saturday Night Live."

And on top of commercial businesses and private citizens' pumping their dollars into this election, each of the presidential candidates has thrown millions of dollars into garnering your vote or just getting you there to do so. From June through last week, Obama spent $17.3 million and McCain spent $13.4 million in Ohio alone.

What all of this comes down to is there is absolutely no reason why any American over the age of 18 shouldn't be lining up at their local Board of Elections or filling out and mailing their absentee ballot. The government is invested in it. The media is invested in it. The candidates are invested in it. Do more than wear your "Vote!" T-shirt, get pumped for your favorite artist and laugh along at Tina Fey's latest skit as Gov. Sarah Palin. There's too much on the line this year to let all the energy and excitement toward voting in this election pass like another well-worn fad.

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