Don’t overlook students’ voting power Tuesday

Amy Choi is a Medill senior. She can be reached at [email protected].

The words of Medill junior Michael Brownfield in Tuesday’s Daily:

“Congratulations to The Daily for its ringing endorsement of Al Gore. I never would have dreamed that a paper so dripping in conservative rhetoric would have the courage to make such a bold declaration of support … The Daily’s editors have certainly demonstrated their political prowess. To the Bush campaign: Throw in the towel. With The New York Times, Washington Post and The Daily Northwestern’s endorsement of Gore, you don’t have a prayer of winning.”

Dear Mr. Brownfield: Your subtlety amazes me. It’s brilliant. You’ve not only flexed your rhetorical muscles but also managed to insult the 10,000 people that read this newspaper.

Allow me to remind you that virtually all 10,000 of these people are of voting age, and for most, Tuesday will mark their first presidential election.

And you’ve just told all 10,000 of them that their opinions, and more significantly, their votes, are insubstantial.

In calling The Daily’s endorsement trivial and in turn hinting that NU ignores the “crack” words of its main news source (I guarantee you that more students read The Daily than either The New York Times or The Washington Post), you are invalidating the monumental act of us young people voting. You are implying that we are not going to make the most well-informed decision possible, that we aren’t absorbing every tiny bit of information or opinion available.

You should thank any medium that allows your voice to be heard. In fact, thank YOU for having the balls to say what you feel and putting yourself on the line. Because you can praise Bush and criticize this paper and its reporters all you want.

But don’t — do not — even hint that 10,000 of us aren’t attuned to the publications and the beliefs of the students and the world around us, even as we fight to understand political campaigns directed at the middle-aged and elderly.

Nobody seems to want us to care. More than 60 percent of TV ads are directed to an audience 50 years or older. Only 14 percent are for us. While Big Tobacco and other ad campaigns can spend billions getting us to buy whatever crap they market, our candidates don’t care to spend a proverbial dime.

But we DO care, regardless, because for most of us this is our first chance to participate in what is arguably the most important thing we can do for ourselves.

So if Bush seems a little too trigger-happy with the concept of state-sanctioned murder, if it makes me uncomfortable to imagine the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade and making abortion a commodity on par with liquor during the Prohibition, I want to say it. I want other people to hear it. And hopefully, 10,000 of you will listen and then let YOUR voice be heard Tuesday.

Disagree with everything I write? It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that Tuesday we can make the decision to become an essential part of the democratic process. There is nothing little or insignificant about it.

And to Mr. Brownfield and all those that would say young people aren’t doing their best to understand and make relevant a campaign that has very little to do with youth, to all of those that downplay the significance of 10,000 of us participating in elections on Tuesday?

Watch us vote.