As we approach the presidential election on November 8, it might seem like the nation has never been more divided. But, amid the chaos, the negativity, and the differences, there is one unifying sentiment that both parties can agree on. That is, that no matter which side you're on, no matter what you stand for, no matter how ugly it's gotten or how exhausted you've grown listening to speech after speech, watching debate after debate (reading Facebook status update after Facebook status update) that you, that everyone, should vote in this election. In the last three presidential elections, about 60% of eligible voters turned out at the polls. That means around 40% of those able to vote in the last election just plum didn't show up. What could have been more important in 2012 than participating in a presidential election? Dancing to "Gangnam Style"? Watching Friends reruns? Sounds ridiculous, right? Need more motivation to participate in one of our nation's greatest civil liberties? As we approach the hundredth anniversary of the women's suffrage movement, we are reminded that, for women and minorities, the right to vote has been hard-won. By staying home on November 8, you'd be taking for granted a right that many others never got to enjoy. For those who prefer to look toward the future, just think about how the results will shape how we'll evolve as a nation in the next eight years and beyond. This year, voters will choose a president who will, in turn, appoint at least one justice to a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. That person will have a say in landmark cases and policy that will affect us for the indefinite future.
And the impact of your ballot goes beyond who controls the presidency. You have the opportunity to vote on down-ballot candidates and races that will govern a whole host of issues that affect your everyday life. That means if you have thoughts (or even inklings or even notions) about global warming, gun control, abortion laws, fracking, immigration, taxation, civil rights, cyber laws, infrastructure, privacy, education, or legislation, voting is also for you!
Still not with me? If cementing your place in our nation's history and solidifying your voice in our country's future aren't really doing it for you, let these words from The Daily Show's Trevor Noah sink in: "It’s your country, it’s your future, it’s your life." Noah was one of 22 people who shared their case for heading to the polls November 8 with Refinery29 at the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer. So, take a spin through the video above and pick a reason — any reason! — or submit yours in the comments below. When it comes to voting, there's no wrong answer — except absence. Show up. Check a box. Trust me, it's a far better story to tell than to look back and say you couldn't vote cuz you were too busy marathoning Stranger Things or filtering your own face on Snapchat.