Big decisions are made by our politicians, and very often they fail to consider the needs and wants of us, the youth of the country.
In official studies, college students are grouped with people up to age 29. In this age bracket, the voter turnout rate for presidential elections is dismal. According to civicyouth.org, voter turnout rate averaged 46.7 percent during the past three presidential elections. This might not seem terrible if you accept that some people just aren’t interested in politics or that some don’t consider themselves informed enough to make a good decision at the ballot box.
But consider this: Those in the 65 and over age bracket vote in much greater numbers. Their turnout rate in the same elections has averaged 70.3 percent. And this trend isn’t just for the grandparents out there. People in the 30-44 and 45-64 age brackets also vote more than we do at 61 and 69 percent, respectively.
These numbers clearly illustrate who the politicians should listen to. Less than half of our generation votes, but almost three quarters of the oldest generation does. So the over-30 crowd gets what they want while we are ignored.
As a politician, your job depends on being re-elected, so you listen to the people who actually vote. If we can’t even be bothered to vote, then we are even less likely to bother to call our representative’s office if we are unhappy. Because we never vote in large numbers historically, they can ignore us without any fear of our getting upset or suddenly demanding something from them.
We should change that.
I want more financial aid so I won’t be in debt for the next 20 years after paying for college.
I want politicians to pay attention to the environment for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in office.
I want gay marriage to be legal so we stop discriminating against our own citizens.
And if you don’t agree with my points above, you have even more reason to vote so that I don’t get everything I want and screw up your vision of the perfect America.
I’m not naïve. I understand that a few votes won’t suddenly change everything for the better. But if we consistently vote in overwhelming numbers, you better bet that politicians will start paying attention to what you and I want. If they don’t, we can always vote them out next time.
Our generation is going to be facing a world completely different than the one our parents lived in. Some economists say our standard of living will not be as high as what our parents enjoyed.
However, I believe that if we are motivated now, vote and consistently show our representatives that we care and that we deserve their attention, we may be able to reverse this trend.