The Importance of Being Politically AwareTeenagers must be politically aware to make a difference in the future.
By: Lyly Vang-Yang, Sibley Scribe
I’m sure most of you are tired of hearing about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and those “Gangnam Style” parody videos. Well, maybe not the parody videos, but definitely Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. You have reason to be. I mean, who wants to hear people bashing others constantly? Why should you care anyway? You’re young, wild, and free! You’re living it up; you’re a teenager!
…Wrong! You should care. You should really care. As teenagers, older people perceive us as only caring about our looks, friends, celebrities, and what people think of us. They think that we don’t really care about war, the current unemployment rate, or who’s who in the world of politics. We’ve got to prove them wrong.
This is our future we’re talking about. Whatever policies and laws our future president and other elected officials institute will most definitely affect your future, my future, your dog’s future, and even your favorite tree’s future.
We are fortunate enough to have the right to vote. We have the power to decide our next president and we should use it. Your vote counts. I’m sure you all know someone who just complains and complains, but never does anything about it. Don’t be that person. Be the person that makes a difference.
As young adults, a lot of us feel like we don’t have any power. We may not have power over others, but we definitely have power over ourselves. We as young adults have the power to be responsible, respectful, and resourceful. We as young adults have the power to choose to be informed about current events and politics. We should use that power.
In a small survey conducted among our Sibley population (thank you to all those that participated!), I found that roughly half get their political information from social media websites such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Reddit. About a third gets their information from news information sites such as Fox News and CNN. The vast majority also get a lot of their information from family and friends.
It’s really great that young people are starting to even get involved in politics at all. It’s even better that they’re speaking with others about current events in a manner that is both genuine and civil. It is definitely a start to becoming more responsible, respectful, and resourceful.
We should take it one step forward though. Start getting your information from websites dedicated solely to politics and current events. Any of the big papers, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, have interesting and informative articles on their websites. The Economist has weekly updates on current events, and sites such as Politico are updated daily. Listen to NPR (or MPR). Watch C-SPAN on television or Democracy Now online for a bit. Get involved with a political campaign or write a letter on an issue you really care about to your local mayor or to a representative.
We are the future of the world, and by getting involved in politics now and making sure that we are responsible, respectful, and resourceful, we can affect the world.