Guest Opinion: One Thing We Can All Agree On in Bernie’s Message

Brandon Czel was a guest writing for this edition of The Talon.

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Brandon Czel was a guest writing for this edition of The Talon.

First off, I want to thank you if you’re not a Bernie fan but continued to brave past the title anyway. I’m not out to try and tell you for which candidate to vote in the coming days of the presidential primary. My mission is to draw your attention to these words right here:

“We need a political revolution in this country, which means that eighty percent of the people vote, not forty percent, and which means that people demand that Congress represent that middle class and working families of this country and not just the billionaire class,” (Senator Bernie Sanders).

Whether your favorite is Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton or the man who said the words above, this message is crucial to our future if we want to have a say in it. Forty percent is a scary number, and the worst part is the fact that the number is optimistic. The US Census recording for people aged 18-24 in 2012 was even lower at thirty-eight percent. What do all of these numbers mean? It means that if I were to take ten of Centennial’s seniors and tell them they needed to vote for the next person in charge of protecting them from war, poverty and disease, only four of them would decide that voting was even worth their time. No matter how much the other six people despise whoever is elected, it won’t matter because they decided not to vote.

This is where the real irony lies. We live in Oregon, where voting is at the easiest that the US has ever seen. Voters don’t have to suffer the long lines or even the smell of the DMV, they can register to a party on the DMV website in about five minutes and then forget about it entirely until May roles around. After they’ve mailed the ballot back, they can then forget about it again. Taking back the people’s control of our leadership starts with each and every person’s ballot.

Unfortunately, voter turnout is not our only problem. If you’re getting the feeling that your vote doesn’t quite have the power it should, you are definitely onto something there. We’ll still have the obstacles of a rigged election system in our way. Like I said, voting is a start, but if we want to make real change there is so much more that we can do. A lot of this is easy, too! Signing a petition, making a post on social media or even just sharing thoughts with friends and family all take just a few seconds but can make a big difference in the long run. For those up to the challenge joining a club, activist group, or protest is even better. Believe it or not, letters can be extremely effective too, when sent in massive numbers. Whether you’re a CEO or congressman, having your secretary’s desk being flooded with letters that waste both your time and money can be one of the most frustrating experiences of your professional life.

Seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to be a big pain in someone’s backside, this is the way to do it. There is no person or group of people more deserving of having their days ruined than the “political action committees,” lobbyists, and party leaders who are trying to take away our power to vote, and we the people can be a real force to be reckoned with if we want to be.