With the midterm election just on the horizon, the bi-annual scramble to get the American youth off their butts and go vote has officially commenced. Historically speaking, the fight seems futile: the 18-29 year old age group has voted the least out of any age in group in America in almost every election. But behind the gargantuan wall of historical trends and voting statistics, I see a glimmer of hope in our generation.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 46.1 percent of citizens from the age of 18-29 voted in the 2016 election. If you want to think of it as a competition, we are in last place, by far. The next to last are the 30-44 year olds who sit at a measly 58.7 percent. In other words, we are not doing nearly enough.
So why do you care? Why should you even vote? Well, for starters, it is your civic duty. Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out. Once you turn 18, you become a legal adult; aka a full participant of our society. For better or worse, this is how it is. Do not give up your right to change the course of the country (a right people have fought and died for, by the way) just because you are too lazy to inform yourself.
Yes, you read me correctly. YOUR VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Despite popular belief, your vote does actually matter and, in fact, dramatically influences the course of the country. Almost all significant changes that our country has gone through have been from people working within the system to fight for change, not fighting against the system itself. And you especially cannot start a civil war by retweeting in your PJ’s, so until that day, I suggest you get to the voting booth.
On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to rid Washington of corrupt politicians by “draining the swamp” and placed the blame of the perceived inefficiency of our nation on the national government. Whether you agree with this statement or not, those politicians do not just pop up out of nowhere. We vote them in, or more accurately, you don’t vote them out. Despite his best efforts, Trump, or no other one person, can “drain the swamp,” we must.
If your argument for not voting is “I do not know anything about politics,” then we agree, you should not vote. Nonetheless, that is not an excuse. Take a few hours before an election to read up on the candidates and what they have to offer. Do not just listen to Sally Sue gossip about the candidate with a “weird smile” during 5th period. Find your information from the horse’s mouth. Ignore slanderous hate ads and go directly to each candidate’s website and see what they have to offer. It does not take long and you can even make a cheat sheet for yourself to bring with you to the voting booth.
Above all, adults do not want you to vote, which instantly makes voting cool. Think about it, why does it seem like every politician is an old white man? Because historically that is the population that votes the most. Politicians barely spend time listening to the youth because they (rightly) assume we will not vote anyway, so why should they care. So this November, or for any future election, be the coolest kid on the block and go down to your local voting station and show these old politicians just how wrong they are.