If young people want to be heard, they need to start voting:

November 5, 2011

Political action, Uncategorized


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%?

 

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4 Comments on “If young people want to be heard, they need to start voting:”

  1. celekinn Says:

    Interestingly enough, I just received my “Congratulations on turning 18!” postcard in the mail reminding me to register to vote. Other than this, I haven’t felt really included and targeted within some political candidate’s campaigns. It’s true, there is not a lot of attention given to the youth by political candidates. Could this be the reason that only 51% of youth voters take action on election day? This has long been a problem within the voting community; trying to get young voters to participate in the decisions of the government. Many argue that they don’t feel their vote does any good; that their vote “doesn’t count anyway.” A definite possibility.

    There should be more focus on youth voters by political candidates. With a new crop of potential voters turning of age every year, they should be included in the platform. There’s an entire audience of young voters, who maybe haven’t been stimulated enough to care.

    If youth voters were included more in political candidate’s campaigns, the attitude of politics would certainly change to include a more youthful feel. If the percentage of youth voters shot up to 70%, political candidates would be more vocal when it comes to the needs of the youth.

  2. mimirofl Says:

    I agree with this post and it has been proven that youth voters have increased over the years. “Young voter turnout tripled or even quadrupled in many primary states. Over 6.5 million young voters participated in the primary contests or caucuses this year, an increase of 103% over 2004.” (http://www.yda.org/resources/youth-vote-statistics/)

    Youth voters need to publicly want to be more involved with the voting campaigns and process and then I feel as that would trigger the political candidates to focus their targeting onto youths.

  3. dcmiller93 Says:

    I often wonder myself why America’s youth population is so apathetic when it comes to politics. Doesn’t this generation realize that those before us are robbing us of the opportunity to grow up in the great country that their predecessors left for them? It’s frustrating to me, as a concerned citizen, and I’m sure it is to many in this class who are most likely interested in politics or law at the very least. In talking to my less politically inclined peers, I find that the political apathy they experience is symptomatic of a “wishy-washy” relativist outlook, an idea that everyone’s different and we’re just going to disagree so instead of doing something about it, we’ll just leave it alone. Then, rather than inform themselves on the issues facing our country and our world, they insulate themselves in a created world of careless diversion. What would Socrates say to this head in the sand philosophy? Do we really believe that there is no truth, no differentiation between concepts? Does that mean totalitarianism and democracy are essentially equal? Certainly not, there has to be a right and a wrong and just because there is conflict doesn’t mean we should abandon the pursuit of truth all together.

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