By Nick Riebel || Staff Writer

   Please forgive the platitude, but I believe that voting is your right and duty. This presidential election, the pundits say every four years, is the most important election of our lifetime. For this year, for 2016, this may very well be the case. It may not be. I remember many in the media saying that 2012 and 2008 were pretty important elections. Yet, whomever the nominee is for the Democrats, it is essential that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States. I do not know what will happen, what he will say, and what he will do if he becomes president. It’s a chance we cannot afford to take.

      On a lighter note, as we anticipate the Pennsylvania primary election this month, we have our own elections to look forward to, here at F&M. The House Parliaments are having elections, which are a good way to ensure that you are represented in your own housing system. Whatever you think about our college’s housing system, it is a good way to ensure that it works the best for you, and as best as it can for everyone.

   It is worth noting that our Diplomatic Congress is having elections for its officers as well. While most of the positions will be uncontested, there is one that will be competitive: that of the Diplomatic Congress President.

   While it is not my place here, I think, to tell you which candidates would be better served for the positions on Dip Con (and our House parliaments) I will say this: I feel that, overall, the Diplomatic Congress is somewhat self-isolated and self-contained.   

  I believe, personally, that fresh blood is needed, people who don’t want to put something else on their resume, but people who truly want to make a difference, as much as they can with the limited power the Diplomatic Congress currently has. But, with good leaders, we can have a better Dip Con, which will help directly lead to a better campus.

    Franklin & Marshall College has stood the test of time, and has been around for centuries. In the grand scheme of things, you may think that our next Diplomatic Congress, or our next House parliaments, or even our next college presidents or board of trustees may not matter very much. But here’s the thing: you never know. You can never know for sure. And how do I know this? Just by looking at what’s been happening in the Republican primary.

  If you haven’t been paying close attention to the ugliness of the hatred and ignorance of the Republican base, to the vocal members who are less afraid of being openly racist and bigoted, then you may not have seen Donald Trump, and his remarkable success, coming. This presidential election could determine whether or not he becomes our president. Please, think about this for a moment. Then take some time to consider that our nation has a very low voting rate, struggling to get to 60 percent of possible voter participation.

  One may be disillusioned with politics, or think that it’s not important enough to warrant your attention, energy, or time. But, if you are apathetic, you cannot complain (too loudly, at least) about the direction of our country, our policies, or what a potential Trump administration does. If you do not vote in your local elections, whether for governor, senator, Congressperson, for your mayor or for a precinct chairman, or even school elections, you will forfeit your right to vote. You will forfeit your opportunity to improve things or prevent a decline.

   I end with another cliche: you have the power, the right, even the responsibility to vote. I urge you to use it, and use it with wisdom.

Junior Nick Riebel is a staff writer. His email is