Essay - by Zoey Lichtenheld

Stand Up and Vote

10/16/08

Only forty-one percent of people between the age of eighteen and twenty voted in the 2004 presidential election. Forty-one percent. This small percentage of voters is coming from arguably the most outspoken and opinionated group in society. One of the bet ways to be heard and have your opinions truly count for something is to vote. Young people spend so much time preaching about their political concerns and their issues with the American government, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is only forty-one percent vote! Some cite the time consuming process of registration and the inconvenient voting hours as their reason for not voting. Who cares about time? What could possibly be more important than having “your say” in a decision that will greatly impact the next four years of our lives?

Young people don’t seem to understand the impact that their vote can have on society. Fifty-nine percent of people from ages eighteen to twenty aren’t voting just imagine if all those people voted what a difference it would make in a campaign. If young people also show that they are an important part of the voting population than political leaders will pay more attention to the issues concerning young people because they want their votes. A great way for young people to get the issues addressed that they care about would be to become an active part of the voting population.

What strikes me as being particularly odd about the small percentage of voters between the ages of eighteen and twenty, is the fact that they recently became free of parental control, and now they are subscribing to a presidential control that they aren’t even going to try to have their say in. When you finally gain independence why wouldn’t you use your new power to vote? Also, a lot of young people seem to rebel from the ideas of their parents and other adults, but they don’t seem to be taking into consideration that due to the fact that they aren’t voting and that these other adults are, it is the adults who they recently rebelled against who are ultimately making the decisions of who’s in the White House. In that sense parents aren’t losing the hold that they had on their recently “freed” children at all, because the parents are the ones picking the executive head of our country who will certainly have more power over their children than they ever did.

Not voting supports ignorance. When you don’t vote you’re saying that you don’t care about what happens to our country over the next few years. How could you not care about something that will have such a great impact on your life? Look back on how much the Bush administration has impacted our society. I’m sure that at some point you’ve criticized Bush, and I’d bet that you’ll criticize our next president as well. If you want to prove that your criticisms and other criticisms of the youth have depth and meaning than stand up for what you believe in and vote.