Then I saw a video of Fox’s John Stossel saying that if you don’t follow politics then you just shouldn’t vote, especially the young kids who aren’t paying attention to important issues.
In fact, he proposes that instinctually, we should know that some people who are “dumb” or “don’t pay attention” should not vote at all.
“ ‘Let’s go to the rock concerts and register the kids’, and the kids are not paying attention…”
“We shouldn’t have these get out the vote campaigns and make these statements: ‘everyone has to vote, it’s your patriotic duty!’ Well, if you’re not paying attention I think it’s your patriotic duty not to vote.”
Is it just me, or does it seem that NO ONE expects anything of the 44 million young voters this November? Are we as oblivious as Stossel would like us to believe, or is this some sort of Jedi mind trick to make us believe we shouldn’t even bother to exercise our right to vote? Granted, young adults and Millennials have gotten a bad rap for civic participation, especially in voting. But we’re changing, right?
While some are saying that all Millennials care about is money, image, and fame, we turned out in record numbers in 2008. Fast forward to 2012 and some of the issues we care most about are at the forefront of this election: the economy, healthcare and education. Millennials are living the unemployment statistics, many fear the repeal of Obamacare which allows them to keep their parents’ health insurance a little longer, and many of us are hiding from our student loan companies. Half of us live at home with mom and pop! Doesn’t this mean that we know a little something about these issues? I wonder what the “dumb” threshold is on the Stossel Voter Eligibility Continuum.
I know that we’re usually too busy at our rock concerts or chasing the almighty dollar, but some young voters do actually take the time to find out a bit about the issues and our candidates before we mark our ballot. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to know something about the issues and politics of the day. Our widespread use of technology, as well as that of our candidates, makes the information so easy to find and hard to ignore. You can hear from candidates on videos, like them on Facebook, Tweet them during debates and see their faces on memes.
As for the get out the vote campaigns, sometimes you have to meet the people where the people are. If young voters are at rock concerts, or malls, or skate parks, or libraries or Tumblr or watching TV, shouldn’t the message come to them if they haven’t yet come to the message? The idea that young voters who aren’t involved in the political and civil matters of the world should stay in the dark is lost on me.
And then again some of us don’t get informed like we should, but that’s the nature of the masses. The Founding Fathers and political leaders through the ages realized that when you make a right universal that not every person will consciously and appropriately use that right. But they decided to let (almost) every adult vote anyway, imagine that!
With that said, this is a call to action. Young voters are about 20% of the 2012 electorate, and there is absolutely power in numbers. Don’t let the naysayers convince you that voting is not important, or that you are not knowledgeable enough to vote. It is absolutely not patriotic to forfeit your ballot since someone, somewhere at some time fought for your right to use it. Young or old, red or blue, rich or poor, “educated” or not, every person with a vote has a right to mark their ticket for the person they see most fit to lead us…even the dumb kids getting registered to vote at rock concerts.
Send your comments and questions to Shardae at firstname.lastname@example.org