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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Thank you for voting

Published: November 7, 2008
Section: Opinions

The results came in to a roar at the Shapiro Campus Center: Barack Obama will be the next president of these United States of America. People scream, hug, and generally lose their minds…or at least that’s how I saw it in my mind. I happened to be on a couch with friends, slowly nodding my head. Just a little bit different setting, but the point got across.

I happen to be an Obama supporter, like many other Brandeis students. We all felt that we could effect a change in government, and boy were we right. But you know, this isn’t even about who won and who lost. This is about how we got here.

Sixty-four percent of voting-age America voted this time around. That’s almost a 10 percent empirical increase on the 2004 election, and a 20 percent increase on 2006’s elections. Somehow the nation turned from an apathetic, let-the-politicians-do-what-they-want bunch into a driven force of voters, each determined to make a difference.

I can’t help but be impressed by these numbers, and Brandeis is a perfect example. How many times were you asked if you had voted already? How often were you the one asking? Chances are the answer to both is “almost too many times.” I mean, a friend asked me if I’d voted, and I replied “I voted absentee a couple weeks ago.” His reply? “Why not vote here too?” Now while I’d love to, I suppose the government wouldn’t enjoy my little piece of voter fraud.

Still, isn’t that the great thing about Brandeis, that we are all constantly pushing for bigger and better involvement in school, community, politics, etc.? I almost feel bad for not going out to knock on doors with my Brandeis Democrat friends. They cared, just like you and I cared, and we all showed it, proving that caring can win elections.

But again, this is not about the winners and losers, because in all honesty, we are all winners. We showed what caring about a country can create. Senator McCain explained in his concession speech that caring about our country is paramount, and stated that after Election Day we are all (well, at Brandeis, mostly) Americans and supporters who will do all we can to secure our bright futures. McCain even silenced his own supporters who sought to deride Senator, now president-elect Obama. This shows the change that has already occurred due to the presidential race, and I think we are better off for it.

If McCain had won the election, I would still have all these things to say, as we are progressing as a country and as citizens. But more importantly, I just want to thank you, Brandeis, for your commitment to the ideals of freedom and individuals being strong together. Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, or whatever else, you chose not just to voice your opinions, but to work to convince others that they are better off doing so as well. So again, thank you. You helped show that an “apathetic” generation can make itself heard, and you certainly helped many believe in the beauty of democracy again. And for that, they and I are forever grateful.

Thank you.