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Swerving Solipsism

A political air has swept through Durham and across the Granite State as voters get set to hit the polls for the New Hampshire primary election.

Politicians stormed into the state after the Iowa caucuses’ conclusion Monday evening, with Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debating in Durham Thursday night and Republicans taking the state in Manchester Saturday evening.

Sadly, politics has an extremely negative connotation for many, hindering millions of Americans from exercising their right to vote. As citizens, we need to ensure that we keep political conversations positive. 

There will undoubtedly be an outpouring of social media posts in light of tomorrow’s election, which can be both incredibly infuriating and annoying. Posts come from those both supporting and denigrating candidates on both sides, preaching about how broken and corrupt the system is and, of course, those who will be “booking flights to Canada” if a certain candidate wins.

The New Hampshire is certainly not suggesting that you keep your views to yourself. However, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of avoiding solipsism. With that being said, disagreement that leads to constructive conversation is beneficial to our democracy. 

We are fortunate enough to live in a country with a representative democracy that allows us to directly express our approval or discontent with the political status quo by electing our leaders (every two, four and six years, depending on the position) in Washington, D.C. One would be remiss to pass up that opportunity. The problem has rather become that many people, especially college students, are turned off by politics.

Unfortunately, we students on campus were raised in a time of extreme political polarization. Growing up, how many of you could honestly say you weren’t under the impression that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are as stark as those of cats and dogs?

Many of us have fallen victim to the misguided principle that the two are inherently different and that’s just the way it is. What’s one of the few things our parents told us not bring up at the dinner table with relatives? Oh right, “politics.”

The aforementioned notion is the driving force behind the stigma the word politics has acquired. For the most part, nobody (except maybe students planning to study law or enter politics) wants to have an unpleasant conversation on a topic that reasonable people can disagree on.

When political interest is on the rise, more voters turn out at the polls. In turn, our democracy, and by extension our nation, functions more effectively. The real key to moving our country forward and bridging the political divide is acknowledging that we are able to use the power of voting to get the right men and women in D.C.

Regardless of the progress made in changing our attitudes about politics, The New Hampshire implores you to vote tomorrow.

We don’t necessarily believe that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Sure you can, it’s guaranteed by the first amendment. However, abstaining from voting is a sign of grandiose disrespect. Too many men and women have died to ensure that we maintain a democracy.

Moreover, participating (i.e.: voting) is vital to its functioning success.

Former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

We couldn’t agree with FDR more.

You don’t have to like every candidate, or even any candidate, that will appear on the Republican or Democratic primary ballot tomorrow. But that doesn’t excuse, or in any way justify, skipping out on voting. Whether you like it or not, one of them will be sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States come January 2017.

Votes matter, especially from Wildcats.

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