The 348

A movie entitled “300,” currently in theaters, follows a Spartan King in his quest with 300 of Sparta’s best warriors to defend honor and freedom. Though the Oracles and highest council said he should submit and do nothing, he rebelled. Thousands of years later, we face the same adversaries, but our number has only slightly grown.

Here at Dillard we are an army of 348 defenders of freedom. Out of a body of over 1,200 students, only 348 exercised their right, their privilege, no…. their DUTY to vote in recent SGA elections. I applaud you, brave 348, because you are a group of people who don’t just complain but you also put your words to action. You have surpassed the hopes and dreams of slaves and refused to settle and submit to your superiors. With just one vote you make differences within your academic institutions, as well as, your communities because you stood for what you believed. You have the power to change the fate of your people and rule nations, and the fact that you voted shows that you have the desire to do so. You must continue to turn heads and upset the standard because I have total faith that you will fight the stereotype and strengthen our people.

But for those who preferred to kneel in defeat, rather than stand for change with the 348, I have a question. Why are you attending college? If not for self-enlightenment, freedom of self-expression and a desire to become an influential voice in your environment, you are wasting professors’ time and your parents’ or your money on tuition.

During campaign week, I noticed several students that had the audacity to announce, “I don’t vote,” when they were given campaign propaganda. That day made me realize that we as a people are experiencing a downward spiral back into slavery. We have either forgotten or were never taught that by voting, we pay a debt to those who died so that we could do so. We have forgotten that freedom has never been free or easy to obtain, and we have forgotten that the vote is the one revenue that is promised to all to make sure their voices are heard.

How many more wars are needed? How badly does the media have to portray us? How many advantages must be taken away before we start to honor the very ancestors that fought and died for us to have them? I know you are thinking, ‘it’s just an SGA election, it doesn’t mean I do not vote at all.’ But this is what you have to ask yourself: If it is a problem to seek out and touch a screen that is within a mile radius, or to vote absentee when your computer is within a foot’s distance, why would you get up and drive to a poll during a presidential election?

For those who didn’t vote but complain about anything going on at Dillard, when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, ask yourself, what did you do to be a catalyst for change? How much community service have you done? Are you a leader in your school’s community, or do you just hold a title? Do you participate in school activities at all? How many times have you been an ambassador for your school and encouraged other girls and boys to come to college and mature into successful young ladies and gentlemen? How many times have you proved to your professors that you were worth teaching? If your reflection does not respond, the last thing you should ask is, are you a part of the problem or the solution, because the last time I checked, you can’t dance if you are standing on the wall.

Voting is the one venue that allows all voices to be heard no matter race, gender, age or sexual orientation. So in the next elections, will you be silent, or will you be number 349?