The decline in the economy has led to many youth movements, including Occupy Wall Street and some less known movements like Youth Green Movement. Our Country’s youth has always had a history of rebelling against society, however, does our youth really believe that their voices will be heard by Washington when only 51% of people aged 18-29 voted in the 2008 election? Surprisingly, this served as an increase from the 49% that voted in the 2004 elections. With the recent economic drought that America has suffered comes governmental decisions on how to escape these harsh times. A lot of America’s youth is very upset with the direction that America has decided to follow.
According to John Stuart Mill, America’s youth is entitled to the right to freedom of expression. If the Youth disagrees with the government then Mill would argue that they are not only allowed to voice their opinions, but encouraged to protest. In order for human potential to be maximized, all people must express their concern on the specific issue at hand. Even negative based arguments need to be heard because as Mill argued, “
“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still”. (No Apology). All of this said, how does the youth benefit from these countless movements, when only 51% of “youth voters” take action come election time. If only half of these people vote, then their voice will not be heard by Washington, thus leading to years and years of protest, without recognition by the government. The Youth have the potential to have enormous influence on the decisions made in Washington due to their large numbers and strong opinions. Their opinions will only be heard if a larger portion of them takes action on the ballot. The first step in getting the government to take action is protesting, which our countries youth has done for a hundred plus years, however, in order for these actions to be enforced and not just heard, voters must vote for a specific candidate that has preached the same ideas that the youth believes in.
A lot of candidates would focus more of their campaigning attention towards the youth, if the percentage of youth voters was much higher. This makes up a large proportion of America’s population, however, if only half of this population is willing to vote, then there is less incentive for these candidates to focus on the voices of America’s youth. The percentage of voters rises as the age reaches 35, so most candidates base their campaigns on age groups above 29. 70% of 65-74 year olds were active on the ballots. This statistic makes it clear, why most political candidates focus on the older generations of this country and less on the youth. This brings about the argument, does our country focus enough attention on persuading the youth vote? Would there be a large change in the focus of political candidates, if the percentage of youth voters shot up to 70%?