Everybody Has a Price
Hi, college kids. Boston Daily here. As you may know, we love you guys. But we read a report on WBZ’s website that has us a little worried. It seems that some of you would be willing to give up your right to vote for some pretty underwhelming prizes.
A “Foundations of Journalism” class at New York University recently polled 3,000 NYU undergraduate students about what it would take to buy their right to vote in the next presidential election.
According to a report on the survey in the campus paper, The Washington Square News, 66 percent said they would do it for a year of free tuition; half said they would give up the right to vote forever – for $1 million.
20 percent said they would sell their vote for an iPod touch.
Now we’re not that much older than you guys, so we know all too well the pain you’re going to feel when you start paying those student loans back. But we just can’t fathom your willingness to sell your most inalienable right for what amounts to a small lottery jackpot. So if you’ll indulge us for a moment, we’re going to sound like your grandparents, or your civics professor.
We know public education has failed most of you, but the right to vote was a hard-won liberty for every American. Our forefathers had to fight for our independence from Britain, and then had to develop the idea of American democracy during one hot summer in Philadelphia. Then African-American men had to fight for suffrage, which they didn’t even really get until the 1960’s. In the early 1900’s, women had to protest and cajole to get the vote. In the 2004 elections, P. Diddy told us to Vote or Die. How can you not listen to the man who told you that mo’ money means mo’ problems?
We don’t care how disappointed you are in the candidates. Voting for a president is like dating—you see if they’ve got game, you figure out which one is least likely to break your heart, and you cast your lot with him (or her).
We know you wouldn’t give up your right to get laid for an iPod touch. Give it a little more thought before you pass up on your ability to directly participate in government.