This archived article was written by: Kellie Henderson
A common response to social problems these days seems to be, “Well, I hate politics, this is why I don’t get involved,” with a slight air of superiority as if political debates were something purely ridiculous.
I admit whole-heartedly that I don’t like most politicians and politics can be messy business, but it is entirely necessary that we participate. How can we, the American people, stand aside and look at the condition of our country, our lives, and the world condescendingly if we do not make the effort to voice our opinions and take action? According to the Washington Post, young voter turnout hit an all-time low in the 2000 elections, with 36 percent of 18-24 years old voters showing up to vote.
As the rising generation of America, we are in the prime or our lives with access to a plethora of choices our parents and grandparents never had. Even more than that, we are at a crossroads of choosing who we are and what we believe and stand for, that’s part of being young. Are we going to be active in this world, or are we going to stand by, cynical and passive, and set a standard of apathy for our generation.
Without activity in politics, we relinquish our say and, our right to complain about- how our country is run and how world affairs are handled by America, one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world. As Plato said, “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
So why should you care? Well, if you care at all about how much taxes you pay, whether or not to have a health care system like that of Britain and Canada, that our generation will most likely have a serious social security crisis on our hands when we retire, and what happens in Iraq, then maybe you should pay a bit of attention.
“But the elections aren’t until 2008!” you say. Well, right now is really the best time to be active and involved. Before the primary elections, when the Democrats and Republicans choose their final candidates, there is a larger selection of candidates to choose from. If you wait until the elections are close at hand to start paying attention then you’re stuck with one candidate from the two parties. Get involved early, encourage others to get involved, and maybe you can help pull a candidate into the limelight who has some good ideas. Who says it can’t happen?
If we want the world to change then we can’t treat the political spectrum as if it were a body autonomous to public opinion. We have a government sustained and maintained by the people, so we can’t act as if we have no responsibility. So politicians can cheat and don’t stick true to their campaign slogans- if we ignore what goes on in politics then we allow these things to happen.
So often, I think the reason we have sneaky politicians is because we, as a people, are a little too picky about our politicians. Many times we don’t allow those running for office to be honest about mistakes they have made in their past, so we force them to lie.
Mitt Romney is a good example of this. I personally wouldn’t vote for him, but he’s a good guy, and people should give him a break for changing his stance on abortion. Just because he changed his position one time after really thinking about it doesn’t mean he’s wishy-washy. Wouldn’t you rather have somebody in a political position who is willing to change his mind on a rare occasion than someone’s who is such a stickler that, even when presented with evidence that contradicts him or her, the person won’t change their mind?
It’s probably a bit hypocritical for me to be writing this article because an interest in politics comes naturally for me, but trust me when I say that you should get involved. Besides, I don’t believe people when they tell me politics are boring. If you got enough information on a subject- welfare, abortion, gay rights, child welfare, taxes, whatever, that you would get your blood boiling and start caring.
The next debate is on NBC, September 26th for the Democrats, and PBS is hosting a republican debate the next day. If you miss them , they’re always on the web. Grab a bag of popcorn or other snacks, maybe a friend or two, and sit and watch them. If you really pay attention, it’s actually kind of fun to cheer for the candidates that say something good, and then boo and throw things at the screen when a candidate says something stupid. Who knows, maybe you’ll even enjoy it.