The final presidential debate was last night, and millions of people flocked to social media to voice their opinions. Watching the debate in the comfort of my own home, I followed along on social media, continually refreshing my feeds and exploring hashtags to see what other people had to say.
While many people openly discussed serious political beliefs, some shared memes, funny Buzzfeed articles, or other viral content. My feed was filled with political articles, pictures, quotes, and opinions during the entire time the debate was live.
None of this really bothered me, though. What bothered me were the people posting other things deliberately trying to avoid the debate, or politics in general.
For example, several people in my feed shared a video created by Tasty on Facebook suggesting to people that they should “take a break from the debate” to watch a “giant cookie slowly bake.” While it looked delicious, I couldn’t help but wonder why people would outwardly advertise the fact that they weren’t tuning in to watch the last presidential debate while encouraging others to do the same.
It’s not just about watching the debate though – you’ve seen the posts. People saying they refuse to vote because of how “horrible” the candidates are. People saying they refuse to talk about politics because of how “awful” this election is in general. How it’s a joke. How it’s embarrassing. How they’re appalled that our country has let this happen.
Whether you like the presidential candidates and current state of the election or not, nothing is changing.
Not tuning into the debate doesn’t change the fact that it’s taking place live, in real time. Making jokes about how doomed America is with both of our candidate choices may make you laugh until you realize that in the end, one of them will be our president. Avoiding the reality of the election doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening, and November 8th is right around the corner.
Ignorance is not bliss. Choosing to remain uninformed doesn’t make you any better than those who are taking the time to understand both political parties. Choosing not to exercise your right to vote isn’t something to brag or joke about. We are a country built on democracy, and it seems like many of us are taking that for granted.
If you’re not interested in politics, that’s completely understandable – not everyone is. Fortunately, you don’t have to be interested, you just have to be informed. Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or somewhere in the middle, your voice matters. Your vote is directly going to impact our nation’s future.
Don’t run and hide from the 2017 election. Inform yourself. Vote.