On Nov. 6, Americans across the country will participate in a tradition that is fundamental to our democracy, yet one that is not universally shared across the globe: a free and fair election.
It is the opinion of the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black that all Wake Forest students should fully utilize their privilege to allow their voices to be heard in a peaceful, fair and equitable manner. On Tuesday, we hope that students of all political stripes will make a conscious effort to get to the polls and vote.
We also urge students to keep in mind that although the right to vote and the principle of “one person, one vote” may seem enshrined in U.S. society, it is a right that people have struggled and fought for — sometimes, with their lives. For example, female suffragettes such as Alice Paul were jailed and force-fed for three weeks in the early 20th century. In 1965, nonviolent demonstrators marching from Selma to Montgomery, AL in protest of voter suppression targeted at African-Americans were attacked and bludgeoned by police. Some of them lost their lives.
Clearly, the right to vote is not one that we should take for granted, especially given that voter suppression continues to be evident today.
Thus, we are left with both a privilege and a responsibility at the ballot box, and how we choose to exercise these will have far-ranging impacts.
Policies made by elected officials will have direct impacts on you, and your elected officials cannot adequately represent you without hearing from you. No matter your political ideology, there is bound to be a policy issue that you are passionate about — whether it is the environment, immigration, tax policy, reproductive rights or nearly any other. This is likely your most concrete opportunity to promote forward progress in any given matter.
Finally, although the media and pundits may focus on high-profile races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, local races further down the ballot also have a great impact on your home community or on Winston-Salem, so be sure to educate yourself on candidates for every office from City Council to School Board.
So, the Editorial Board urges every one of our fellow Demon Deacons to make a plan to get themselves (and their friends) to the polls. Every single vote matters.