It’s November of 2016 and everyone must be sick of the election by now. At the risk of being brutally honest, being sick of the election is not an opportunity to stop following the election or to allow yourself to be uninformed. Something I would really like to stress is that it’s not cool to be uninformed. No one is impressed that you do not know what is going on in the world around you. With modern day technology, there is absolutely no excuse to stop paying attention to current events and issues.
Before arriving in Europe, I thought it was important to vote. After spending 2 months here I realize it is far more than just important. Whomever becomes the President of the United States will be the most powerful person on Earth. While we complain about emails and sexual assault scandals (and act as if those two crimes are somehow equivalent), all of Europe is anxiously waiting to see who will be the next president of the United States. Unfortunately for my new European friends, they have absolutely no power in this election. They must cross their fingers and hope that American citizens will show up to the polls and make the right decision.
The two classes that have influenced me the most are Immigration in the Mediterranean Basin and Global Risks, Regional Vulnerabilities, and Sustainable Development Pathways in the Mediterranean Region. My class that focuses on immigration have shed light on issues that are overlooked by most Americans. In America, it’s easy to focus on exclusively migration from Mexico but the larger problem is immigration from the war torn Middle East, specifically Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The people (YES, PEOPLE, JUST LIKE YOU AND ME) who are fortunate enough to escape these devastated areas, have committed to a life full of disappointments and uncertainties. These migrants have nowhere to go. If they are fortunate to make it to Greece or Italy, they are stuck there until their paperwork has been processed. If you’re an undocumented migrant fleeing for your life, and have successfully made it to a Northern European country, you can be sent right back to the original dangerous territory you escaped. The burden on Greece and Italy is already too large while more and more migrants arrive daily. It’s America’s humanitarian responsibility to accept more of these migrants. Lastly, stricter immigration laws empower smugglers — Mediterranean and Mexican migrant smugglers alike. Do we really want to empower Mexican drug cartels who know the ways to smuggle humans and drugs across boarders? Do we want to give these enterprises another opportunity to make money and gain power? It only makes sense to have more open migration laws and a better path to citizenship.
As a skier, the environment is very important to me. There is no advantage of climate change for the sport of skiing. I am passionate about the environment so I decided to take Global Risks, Regional Vulnerabilities, and Sustainable Development Pathways. This class focuses on the human’s footprint on Earth. America is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter. As a world leader, it’s crucial for America to lead the charge against climate change. President Obama has just signed the Paris Agreement, a large step in the right direction. Now, it’s important to create laws to achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement. Living in Boulder, Colorado, it’s easy to believe you’re minimizing your eco-footprint, but there is large part of America that still does not believe climate change is very, very real! By creating laws that will minimize greenhouse gas emissions, we can work to diminish the footprint of the American citizens who refuse to believe in climate trends that have been proven over and over again.
I am 20 years old and this is my first opportunity to vote in a general election. Although I don’t truly love either candidate, I have decided to focus on their policies. After reading this post it must be obvious where my loyalty lies. Although I am in Europe, I have watched all the presidential debates, stayed up to date on current events, and kept an open mind to everything I am learning in and out of the classroom. On top of this, I managed to register to vote in Maine, get an absentee ballot, and mail it back to Maine! If I can do all of these things, there is no excuse that you cannot. It’s not cool to be uninformed, and it’s not cool to not take part in our country’s democracy, so please, VOTE!