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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Lessons to learn

Only one in four American millennials is “definitely” planning on voting this year, according to a Harvard University Institute of Politics poll.

It seems our turnout rate is dependent on “if we feel like it” or “remember” come Nov. 4.

It’s just voting. It doesn’t matter. Nothing to get excited about.

Tell that to the Umbrella Revolutionaries in Hong Kong, who spent last weekend in a fog of pepper spray and tear gas demonstrating in favor of universal suffrage.

When the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to mainland China in 1997, the Chinese government promised that Hong Kong citizens would be able to democratically elect their chief executive in 20 years. This promise was ?reaffirmed in 2007.

But as 2017 approaches, Beijing has become nervous and put its own twist on the meaning of “democratic elections,” mandating that all candidates had to be approved by a special committee — a special ?pro-Beijing committee.

Citizens have the right to vote for any pro-party line candidate they like.

Protestors began marching against this decision Wednesday. Peaceful protests were soon met with a heavily armed police force, which proceeded to blanket occupied areas in tear gas.

By Monday, the protests had still rendered major thoroughfares impassable, as organizers hope to hold out until today, China’s National Day, which celebrates the establishment of communist China.

For the Hong Kong millennials who spearheaded this movement, voting is much more than an easily forgotten diversion. In the 25 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, it’s still been a matter of life and death.

Some of us might think the American system isn’t much better than what those in Hong Kong are fighting. Two parties determine who gets to be on the ballot. We have the honor of choosing the least-worst option.

The seven Libertarians running for congress in Indiana would be disappointed to hear that. Not to mention past Green Party, Socialist Party and ?Independent candidates.

You can always write someone in.

Voting “other” this election isn’t pointless. Ten percent of millennials voting Libertarian this election won’t put any Libertarians in office, but it would catch politicians’ attention. It’s a lot easier to guess the motivations of a third-party voter than someone who doesn’t vote at all.

Maybe your representative will take up one of your pet causes now that they know it has enough support to dictate voting behavior. Maybe other voters will be encouraged to vote for third-party candidates in the next election, encouraging further change within the more-established ?parties.

Staying home to eat Cheetos and watch Netflix is a mockery of political protest. No one knows what you want or how to give it to you or why they should even bother.

Follow our fellow students in Hong Kong; on Nov. 4, stand up and be counted.

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