While speaking at a local university earlier this year, I received a startling comment from a politically charged student. She said that her political science professor told her class, "There is no point in participating in the political process because your vote doesn't count."
Where have we turned as a society when our higher education leaders promote pessimism in the classroom? How can we possibly expect young people to engage in the electoral system when other generations encourage political apathy?
For our founding fathers and every American who fought for our freedom, we have a collective responsibility to reverse this trend of indifference. We can look no further than the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections to validate that some races can be close enough where only a small margin of votes can determine the outcome. We must not be fooled into thinking that our individual votes cannot make a difference.
There is an even greater reason why your vote counts. We enjoy the greatest democracy under the longest standing constitution in the modern era. Our nation's strength derives from its declaration "that all men are created equal." We have the right to elect the leaders that we feel will best represent us. When we neglect that right, we are negating the true spirit of the American people.
It is not enough for a small fraction of Californians to be registered voters. Let us begin to restore the individual voices of every resident statewide. We can make every vote count if we get everyone out to vote. Government can reduce the excessive influences of special interest groups only if people are willing to stand up and fight.
President Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address, "Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed."
To the college students in that political science class and to every disaffected voter, please know: It counts now, more than ever.