Contributed by Eddie Samad
Politics. It’s a touchy subject. I once heard someone say that there are 3 topics that are sure to start a debate – politics, religion and…where the best nasi lemak stall is (Village Park, of course). So I’m not going to start talking about politics – I’m a peace loving guy, and also I would like to keep my friends. But I do want to talk about the importance of having a voice and why everyone should vote.
I know many people who aren’t registered to vote: “My vote isn’t going to make a difference also? No need to vote la”. Sure, an individual vote won’t determine a large-scale election, but a group of voters will.
Imagine that there are 10 other people sitting at home reading this, just like you. Now, imagine that number grows to 1,000, 100,000…now imagine 5 million other people. All youth aged between 15 to 24 years make up 17% of the entire population.
Still think your vote doesn’t count?
The next thing I always hear is “I’m still young, they don’t take me seriously. Vote for what?” If a party (ANY party) assumes that the youth aren’t going to vote, then they are going to focus on the people who do – the wiser (and older) folks. It’s like dating. What’s the best way to make someone go out with you? Take an interest in the issues that matter to them, listen to them and show you care. If you think the youth today are being ignored, then show them a reason to start giving a shit.
Move the needle.
Still not sold? Last year, the UK elections saw the wipe out of the parliamentary majority held by PM Theresa May and her party. The reason? There was a higher number of British youth who were angry about the country’s Brexit decision, who turned up to vote. Last week, students all across the US walked out of their classrooms protesting gun violence. There hasn’t been a student protest this big since the Vietnam War protests in 1960.
We, the youth, are the most expressive generation of our time. We are not afraid to express our individuality through fashion, music or art. We share our lives all over social media (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat). We are not afraid to speak our minds, share our views or express our feelings. We (the youths) are the most diverse group, hence we have the ability to push innovative policy changes that will benefit the entire country. You may not care now, but you will in 5 years…
So when that day comes, you know what to do…put on your P&M t-shirt and head to the voting booths - let’s be reppin’ the youth.
“When we sit at home on Election Day, we give away our power. We give away our voice. We give away our ability to help shape the future of our communities and this country we love.” - Barack Obama