You aren’t too young for politics

As elections near, a tension filled atmosphere envelopes people’s lives. Murmurs start about what has, could and shouldn’t happen.

I have always had an interest in history and politics and how social systems work and have developed. It is a fascinating trend to observe centuries worth of work from notable authors, historians and leading figures that track these patterns.

Learning and growing in politics, I realize it is necessary for a person to have a sense of awareness of the political atmosphere around them to drive a thriving democracy.

The impact of policy and the importance of voters are staples for a successful republic. However, the question of who should be informed about the ongoing discussions regarding a state is as old as governance itself. 

The reason is to filter out the population so that only a select few, with qualities favorable to the government, could have a say in its affairs. 

Centuries ago, it was thought that only a select land-owning elite should be educated in the ways of a state, like the city-states of medieval Italy, or the nobilities in ancient civilizations like Persia and Macedonia. However, as time progressed, this trend has ceased to hold true, as now, any eligible citizen can vote in the United States.

While people as a whole are more informed, middle aged and elderly individuals make up most of the voters on election day. Most of the time, politics is not at the forefront of a young person’s mind, but should that stop younger individuals from engaging with the world around them? 

Many say that young people shouldn’t involve themselves in politics. But why?

A lack of maturity or not having enough experience on the issues related to finance or foreign affairs are commonly stated reasons. However, policy, even on a local level, affects everyone, so why should students be uneducated and unaware? A knowledgeable citizen holds more power.

Political parties often popularize this rhetoric to shift elections in their own favor. Because the majority of the voter base is older, their policies often reflect the concerns of the older population. Rather than adopting modern stances on new policy, it is much easier for parties to continue on appealing to their current voter base

An educated and informed youth who is eager to start voting will shift the course of  demographics and policies being discussed and implemented. Specifically, conservative parties are more reliant on their older voter base to vote in elections, since elderly people usually have built up a more financially stable life and more life experience, increasing the likelihood of them being interested in politics. Adding a large volume of young voters – most of whom will not vote conservative – will turn the tables against them.

This leads to policies that are more popular with younger people to be overlooked and issues fade out of the limelight. An average politician spends less time campaigning and garnering support from a younger demographic.

Politics influences many aspects of our daily life, whether one accepts it or not. Policies made decades ago could influence the place your food comes from, the taxes you pay or the amount of days you have to be in school during the year. To avoid being informed is being ignorant and unwise.

A knowledgeable voter base of diverse age groups is very important in keeping constant pressure on politicians to pass legislation on meaningful issues. You are never too young to attain knowledge. It can be obtained at any age and time, so long as one is determined to grow. 

Coppell High School allows students to take college level courses. If we are up to this challenge, why should taking time to learn about politics be any different?

Using resources available from accredited sources, such as well reputed professors and reliable news websites, new voters can already have an understanding about the people they are putting up to represent them.

We already see this happening all around us. The lack of information and understanding, which can be built up during the foundational years of the teens, has come back to affect our everyday lives. We should be worried about social matters but also pay just as much attention to what is being done with our taxpayer money, how we are handling foreign policy or the issues in our local communities.

Additionally, the youth today is very engaged in social reform and other activism, but don’t actually vote or participate. In a way, the majority of these people are not actually interested in policy or their political environment, but caught up in a fad. It gives the impression of a growing interest, when in reality it doesn’t really translate into much.

Being exposed to the vibrant political atmosphere around themselves from a young age gives a person valuable knowledge that will help them become a better citizen and voter. This in turn rewards society as a whole, allowing us to fix issues and put responsible people in charge.

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Originally posted 2023-10-05 16:20:27.