Why vote: Potholes are politics

Roxanne Ready, Editor-in-Chief

Election season isn’t the only time to care about politics; they matter year-round, and they affect simple, everyday things.

Not all politics are about divisive, complicated issues. Many are about day-to-day things that make a big difference in the everyday life of college students like us.

How many potholes are in the road on your way to classes? Do you face traffic jams in the morning because the roads aren’t wide enough?

State legislators decide every year how much money to spend on fixing and updating roads.

Or maybe you don’t have a car, but you also don’t have a bus route in your neighborhood that would take you to class—or the bus you have is unreliable or inconvenient.

It’s state lawmakers who decide how much money goes to Maryland’s public transit.

And think about your time on campus. Do you think tuition is too high? Or maybe your professor doesn’t have enough office hours to help you because she is overwhelmed with too many students per class. Are you frustrated at sitting in line for an hour before you can see an adviser? Do you think the science department needs better equipment?

AACC decides how many professors and advisers to hire, but it’s the county executive, the governor and the legislators who decide how much money to spend on community colleges. AACC relies on that money to keep tuition down while updating equipment and hiring faculty.

And it’s you and I who decide who the legislators making all these decisions are.

Whom we elect and what they do while in office affect all the little things that help a community function.

So what can you do about it? What should you do?

The obvious answer is to vote, but how do you know who or what to vote for? Where do you even start?

An easy way to stay up to date is to follow a local newspaper on social media, so you can catch up with events while catching up with your friends. And local news, in particular, will let you know what lawmakers are deciding about the area you live in. It will also help make sense of how big, national events affect your life right here in Anne Arundel County.

Podcasts are another great way to get information about current events, even on a 10-minute drive to campus, without any extra time taken out of your day. You can search your favorite podcast app for names of news outlets, both local and national.

If you like to read, there are apps that compile the biggest news in one place— iPhones even have a free news app installed when you buy them.

What it all really comes down to is paying attention and staying involved. We all learned in school how great it is that we live in a democracy “of, by and for the people.”

But if we, the people, don’t actually vote, we end up with lawmakers who don’t reflect us, no matter what our Constitution says.

And we end up with terrible public transit and potholes and underfunded schools.

That’s why Campus Current is sponsoring a voter registration drive April 17 on the Quad. We want you to speak up for what you think our city, state and country should be doing better.

We want you to vote.