Rebekah’s Report- A call to remember our privilege to vote

We live in a country in which drinking games and bingo cards are made and celebrated for presidential candidate debates.

On Aug. 6, thousands gathered around their televisions to hear the top ten Republican candidates debate important issues before the coming election. At the same time, some of those thousands were drinking and playing bingo while watching the debate.

Rolling Stone was just one group that posted the drinking game rules. Some of the rules included: taking a shot of alcohol when a candidate mentioned “Kenya” or “All Lives Matter”; each time the phrases “the war on Christians” and “thug” were said, players were supposed to take a drink. The game also included drinking the first time that “Trump refers to himself in the third person” or “someone promises to ‘take America back’.”

The bingo game had similar rules. Newsweek published four cards for the game where players would cover up spots for words that were said, like “we need a wall,” “defund Planned Parenthood” and “do not interrupt me.” To add alcohol to the game, Newsweek said, “Have a sip every time you get a square, take a shot once you clear a row and if you clear the board, well, we’ll leave the bottle open for you.”

Many people who didn’t participate posted on social media saying, “At least [the players] were watching the debate. That’s involvement.”

But is it really involvement?

While other countries are fighting to have the right to vote, we are wasting (forgive the pun) our time drinking away the hopelessness of our government. Watching the debate doesn’t mean that a person is involved. Most people playing the game weren’t playing to have something to do while watching the debate. The debate served as an excuse to drink and laugh at ourselves.

The phrases that players were drinking to were so crass. Important topics that could make a difference in our nation’s future like defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion-related institutions, reorganizing immigration and boarder control, the racial divide that all Americans face daily and religious discrimination, should have been things to pay attention to.

But instead, we drank. People don’t care anymore. Americans don’t care who becomes president. They don’t care who runs the country and makes laws. They care about entertainment. They care about having fun. They care about the hangover the next morning, not the message they should be listening to.

My question is: how did we get here? How did we become a country that has to entertain itself with alcohol in order to pay attention to an important debate?

It seems like we have forgotten about the battles fought and the people who gave their lives to make voting equality a possibility for citizens today. Have we forgotten women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who fought to give women equal rights in 1920? Do we not value the legacy left by great men like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon B. Johnson who fought for the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

People were lined up to enter the voting booths. They were excited to take advantage of their patriotic duty and vote. They were anxious to have the opportunity to change their government and to have a say on issues that were important to them.

Yet, only a fraction of the population vote on Election Day. Many aren’t even registered to vote. They don’t care. Politics can be complicated, but it’s worth knowing that you can change the outcome of your future and of your country by taking 5 minutes to punch in a few votes.

As a young generation, let’s not forget who fought and died to give us our political and patriotic rights.