Don’t Vote

Throughout the school years we are taught lessons, tricks, guides and random facts that somehow stay lobbed into our brains for years to come. One that shines brightly with the November Presidential Election only weeks away, was taught to me by my high school Civics teacher. He repeatedly read a poster that hung in his classroom, “It is your civic duty to vote.” It was in that class that we were responsible for learning what civic duty meant and why it was our duty to vote. As the years have passed, and the saying civic duty has switched to civic right, it is still imprinted on my mind the importance of voting. One may ask, like my roommate, Why should I vote? Instead of rambling on about having a voice on topics such as health care, our economy and gay marriage I directed her to a YouTube video channel that I had stumbled on entitled “5friendsvote.” Although it was created for the 2008 election, I think the message has remained relative this time around. With over 6.5 million views of the five videos it uses sarcasm, perception and facts to persuade its audience into why they should vote. I have found that when people are told not to do something, the appeal of doing that exact thing heightens. When my mom told me I couldn’t go out with a guy two years older than me in high school, I did it despite her. These videos use the likeness of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Aniston to reach out to those viewers who may be on the edge of voting and not voting, and try to reach them through a video platform. “Don’t vote, whatever you do, don’t vote,” said Ashton Kutcher. As a viewer if you are told not to vote, the desire to vote increases, and as the video continues so does the propaganda, “Don’t vote, unless you care about health care,” said Halle Berry. When the video concludes, the audience is left with the URL leading to a voting registration website and are reminded that the deadline to register is fast approaching. The question remains, in a time-frame of four to five minutes does “5friendsvote” answer the infamous question, “Why should I vote?”  There isn’t a definite answer, but as my roommate said after watching the videos, “It makes a better point than saying it’s my civic right.” Her response made me think that maybe my Civics teacher had gone about it wrong. Instead of hanging a poster that read “It is your civic duty to vote” he should have hung a poster that simply stated, “Don’t Vote” and let the students mentally figure out all the reasons why they should.

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