The Durham 500

By Greg Gottlieb

On Tuesday, you couldn’t make it into a dining hall, walk up to Dimond Library or hustle to class without being solicited about your intentions to vote that day. You may have offered a smile and a brief acknowledgement accompanied by a “No thanks”. It’s possible you were more forward with your political sentiments and explained you were voting differently than the inquiring lobbyist. Maybe you offered encouragement that the two of you were playing for the same team and that the candidate at-hand had already earned your vote.

In any case, you may have been foremost a student, disinterested at that particular moment with thoughts of exams and schoolwork on your mind. Perhaps you were foremost a New Hampshire resident, with your stake in — and civic duty to — the state of New Hampshire on your mind. Maybe you were a somewhat-informed, halfway-interested citizen with a mere idea of how you might vote, had you had time to make it to the polls that day. Although, as stakeholders and benefactors of this great state, we are to assume responsibility for its welfare, it’s just not a perfect world and not everyone is a perfectly politically-fervent citizen.

In a perfect world, we’d all allot some time out of our daily lives to read up on the latest goings-on in our local, state, national and global economies as well as foreign affairs and the like. I usually include this in my daily agenda, but sometimes the hurry of my student, pre-professional and social lives get the best of me.

I am certainly an advocate of being politically involved. The fact that members of our own UNH student community, like our own student body president, Joe Sweeney, are legislators in our state government makes me really proud to be a Wildcat.

The fact of the matter is, you’re not a bad person if you ended up not casting a vote for the political representatives of this state on Tuesday. If anything — and I guess to no surprise — some of the most deplorable actions I witnessed over the past couple weeks came from those who displayed confrontational, aggressive behavior toward their opposition. Some people actively took a stand, voting for candidates that weren’t representatives from either the Democratic or Republican party. Others submitted blank ballots in protest.

It is true that the votes of younger people, notably college students, are extremely important for the betterment of society. We are tomorrow’s industry leaders, teachers, journalists and researchers, and the mistakes made today will be fixed on our dime and on our watch later on in our lives. So while it is true that our voice and our vote is important, there is one thing arguably more important in this moment than voting in a state mid-term election during your busy school week: being a student and being a contributing member of our student body. Over time, those in our community who have yet to make rational decisions on how they want to see our country operate may begin to form stronger, more passionate political feelings.

Greg Gottlieb is a senior hospitality management major who comments on noteworthy topics in the UNH and Durham communities. Follow Greg on Twitter @gottliebgregory.