Get Active America!
Coming to Charlotte for the 2012 Democratic National Convention has been an overwhelming and rewarding experience for me. Because my educational focus is on International Studies, I did not feel as prepared to discuss all domestic issues, however, one experience did stand out to me. As we were taking a tour of Uptown Charlotte, where the Convention would be held, there was a gay rights parade taking place as well as protestors in the streets. It was clear we were going to see a lot more people speaking out on their various issues in the coming weeks. After speaking informally with one of the guest speakers, Aaron Brown, professor of journalism at Arizona State University, he noted that many political leaders fall under the “white male” category because that was the population of voters who were most reliable to turn out to the polls. In that moment it dawned on me. We aren’t misrepresented simply because this is the part of the population with the most money and therefore all the power (although often this is true). We are handing the election to this population simply because the remainder the population does not consistently vote in all elections, including the presidential election. It is not a secret that many Americans find issues with both presidential candidates and therefore choose not to vote at all. I think the best way to make sure our leaders represent the diversity of the American population is for all eligible voters to take advantage of that right and give them a voice. Minorities and young adults will no longer be referred to as fair weather voters, but instead will be a part of the population which leaders will have to pay attention to 100% of the time, not just when they choose to show up to the voting booths.