MC students experience voter apathy
To prepare for election week, Maryville College’s political issues class watched the video “Voting is Sexy, Dude,” taught by Dr. Frances Henderson, assistant professor of political science education.
The video analyzed the popular trend of “voter apathy” that, according to the film, is currently becoming more and more of an issue in America. Henderson chose the video to enlighten the class as to why politics has become a taboo subject in society today. The video, produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), focused on uncovering the reasons for many people’s aversion to discussing political issues.
The most significant reason, the video showed, was the tendency for conflict and arguments to rise out of discussing politics, which results in making people shy away from talking about the topic. After the video, Henderson asked her students what they thought of the film, but no one responded or elected to share opinions on voter apathy.
Henderson, assistant professor of political science education, said that, based on the lack of class discussion after the film, she found that many students practiced voter apathy themselves. “I do know there are some students who take their right to vote very seriously, but a large number of students don’t seem to be engaged in politics,” Henderson said. With the upcoming election, there has been a spike in the coverage of both presidential candidates. However, as the election draws closer, more people are shying away from discussing politics.
“Whenever I try to discuss politics with my friends it always ends in a huge argument,” said Branden Johnson, a sophomore at Maryville College. “I feel like we don’t understand each other’s views and, overall, it’s a pointless subject.” According to Kathi Wilson, MC registrar, Maryville College currently enrolls 1078 students. Of those students, 1063 are 18 or older. This means that the vast majority of students are eligible to vote in the election. Jose Perez, sophomore, said that there are many reasons why he is not interested in politics.
“It’s not a main thing on my mind. I have other things to think about, like school,” Perez said. “I really don’t want to listen to two political candidates argue over something that probably won’t get accomplished.” On the other end of the spectrum, sophomore Stephanie Mount said that she feels strongly about taking the opportunity to vote. She said that her family feels that is their duty as Americans to find a leader that will both preserve and take care of America. “I feel like people don’t vote because they aren’t informed,” Mount said.
Many students said that they felt young people did not vote because they felt that it would not personally affect them. However, Dr. Mark O’ Gorman, associate professor of political science, said that this view was incorrect. “Young voters need to go and participate,” he O’Gorman said. “They should participate as frequently as the older generation if they want to see a bigger impact.”