Many of you remember the excitement of the 2008 presidential election, which led record numbers of young people to get involved in the voting process.
Unfortunately, enthusiasm has waned because more and more people are disillusioned by partisan politics, a stagnated economy and distaste for political mudslinging.
As our country’s future, young people must seize this opportunity to reassert their voices and participate in the upcoming elections.
Regardless of which party you support, participating in our electoral process is a sacred right that should not be taken for granted.
As you prepare to begin your professional careers, it is your responsibility to help shape the world you are joining. It’s vital that you study these issues and understand what they mean to you.
With job creation being many voters’ highest priority, you should elect the person you think is committed to creating the jobs that you and your peers will look for after graduation.
Each of the candidates vying to represent Southern Illinois in Congress have talked about their plans to create more opportunities for your community.
The most successful plan must include a comprehensive package that provides opportunities for all students — whether you studied engineering, biology, automotives or agriculture. It is only by investing in this broad range of industries that our country will be able to offer job seekers the opportunities they want and deserve.
There are issues you should be particularly familiar with as students.
As you venture beyond SIU’s walls, I hope you appreciate the larger society around you. The politicians you elect need to work to give you, your children and your grandchildren security and opportunity.
You need financial stability as you establish your career, a strong economy that supports growing our industries and confidence that our country will remain a global leader.
This election, we need every citizen — young or old, rich or poor, student or retiree — to cast his or her ballot and let his or her voice be heard. The most important thing is not which party or candidate you support, but that you participate in the election.
Major General (retired)