Choosing Not to Choose (Vol. 66, Issue 4)
With the outcome of the Presidential elections still in doubt, Floridians in Yeshiva who neglected to vote must be feeling a deep sense of regret. They probably rue their missed, rare opportunity to directly influence the nation’s future, and any one of them can answer the usually trite question, “does my vote really count?” If misery loves company, however, they should be reassured that many students at Yeshiva should feel as guilty as they.
No conclusive surveys exist to provide us with information on how many of us voted this past Election Day, but based on sentiments heard around campus before November 7th, we can safely bet that the number is uncomfortably low. The lack of civic responsibility suggested by this general apathy does not bear ramifications simply for those who hail from swing states. Political analysts have repeatedly remarked that the Jewish vote had declined this year. Presumably they were referring as much to the Jewish vote in New York as they were to the one in Florida.
The Jewish vote’s significance in the American political arena stems from its unity: until recently, since most Jews voted, they were courted as an important voting bloc. Good politicians are sensitive to changing trends in electoral demographics, and any decline in the Jewish vote will not go unnoticed by them. If Israel's support in Congress wanes, it will be as much the fault of the Californian YC junior who neglected to register because he feared jury duty as it will the Floridian Syms freshman who didn’t have the time to fill out an absentee ballot.
Ultimately, both students will regret their choices. Their regrets will not stem from whomever actually takes the inaugural oath on January 20, however. Such guilt will instead haunt them because they had no hand in selecting him.