MARTIN PARKVILLE, MO
High school student
Essay themes: Voting incentives, candidates should reach out to younger voters in order to get them interested in politics
JESSICA MANN NEVADA, MO
BRIAN BENNETT JR.
ADRIENNE A. DANIELS
APRIL L KOONSE
LUCI M STANLEY
LYDIA MARTIN PARKVILLE, MO
Essay themes: Voting incentives, candidates should reach out to younger voters in order to get them interested in politics
I believe that the participation of young people in political matters is decreasing because they don't have enough incentive to vote. It seems to me that politicians do not do enough, or try hard enough, to get everyone to participate in politics and vote for what they believe.
The incentive for everyone, including the young working class, could be the reduction of taxes. Every time a person votes they should get a tax reduction; the type of reduction, local, state, or federal, could depend on who and what they are voting for. This would also reduce the amount of elections in a year because the government would condense many elections into one so that they do not have to give as many tax reductions.
A convenient way to do all the tallying and tax reduction is to allow Internet voting. Not only would this be time saving for everyone involved, it would also allow more people to vote. Since so many people have access to the Internet, whether at home, in school, or at the library, anyone would be able to make it to a place so that they can vote. When it is Election Day and people are on vacation, or someplace out of their district, they cannot vote because they are only allowed to sign up in their district's election site. If it was allowed on the Internet these people could vote from anywhere in the world. The way to make sure that a voter does not duplicate their vote is to have a credit card like system. If the person chose to go to their district's site they could run it through a machine that would acknowledge that they have voted. If a person voted out of their district the scanner could register their card as being from another district and transfer the person's vote to their district instantly. If they are voting via the Internet they could type in the number of their issued card. The amount of times the card is swiped or used could tell how much of a deduction a person gets on their taxes. If a deduction of taxes does not want to be given maybe the amount of times scanned could mean that amount of days off work, or something along those lines.
I also do not think that the government officials are giving enough incentive because they are only appealing to the people they know will vote for them. If they are republican it means that they are automatically anti-abortion, and if they are not, then they do not say anything about being pro-choice, they just skip the topic all together. (This is just an example I don't think that all republicans are against abortions.) Another reason that not all people are interested in voting is because it is a one way median, the politicians to us. The politicians tell us what they think we want to hear, not what we want actually want to hear. We should hold something like question/answer sessions for each representative. This would not only tell us more about the person that is running for office; it will also get more ideas circulating through out the government. If a good point is brought up during one of these sessions the representative might remember that after he has gotten elected and propose it as a bill. I do not think these sessions should only be held right before an election either; they should be held at regular intervals while the person is serving their term. This would remind people about their government and give them an update as to what is going on in the government at that time. It would also give them an easy way to propose bills to the legislative system.
These are just some of the many ideas that might change the young population's voting rate. If you give these ideas and others a chance then I am sure they will make a difference.
Jean Baptiste Moliere once said, "Ah, there are no longer any children!" This is so true in today's society. Our society is filled with very mature young adults. Most young adults now know more and understand more than over a quarter of the adult population, especially when it comes to politics. The main way I think political participation should increase for adolescents is by lowering the voting age. There are three main reasons we should do this. I believe it would increase independence, young adults know more than they used to, and they are affected by most political decisions.
I believe if we were to lower the voting age, more adolescents would become independent and responsible. Young adults are not given many rights in today's society, by allowing them to have the responsibility of voting, I think many of them would become independent and feel more like an adult. I think children would take the initiative and research the political issues that were being discussed. I also think they would gain more responsibility because of the registering and voting part, too. Lowering the voting age would give an opportunity for children to become independent and responsible.
The second reason we should lower the voting age is because young adults know as much, if not more, than most adults when it comes to politics. Most students learn in their social studies classes all about current events and politics. They also watch more television, so they are apt to see more campaigning than most of the working class adults. I feel that young adults are very up-to-date when it comes to politics and current events. Most classes in today's society require students to keep up with these issues, and some even require student's to write reports about the current issues. Young adults would learn much from the experience of voting and they would also know a lot about politics and current events.
The last reason we should lower the voting age is because young people are affected by most decisions in our society but have little political power. A lot of the ballot issues that are voted on directly affect the young people of our society. We should not expect them to be responsible, obeying citizens if they are denied one of the fundamental rights. How can we expect our children to obey the laws, when they don't even get to give their opinion about them. I feel that because a lot of the issues directly affect them, they should be able to voice their opinion about each issue.
It is very important for young people to feel they are important to the society and to feel that their opinion matters. Every child is a citizen, but yet they are denied a fundamental right. Young adults need to feel that there is a reason they see and hear all about the political issues. They also need to be able to feel that they can make a difference on how our society changes and grows. I think young adults are very capable of voting and they have the vast knowledge to do it. Emma Goldman said it best when she said, "No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity and intelligence hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure."
BRIAN BENNETT JR.
Essay theme: Education
Political participation by young people could be increased, if the schools in our nation would add a political awareness course to the 11th and 12th grade curriculum. The classes must be mandatory and taught by politically knowledgeable individuals. The more students hear about the importance of our political system, the more they will see the need for political participation.
Politics at present time is not based on the foundation of our country. It seems that politicians are more concerned about their own agenda. Politicians will say whatever it takes to get them elected.
We as young adults are forced to try and understand the message that politicians are trying to send. If politics were based on the principles that our country were built on, then young people would be more involved, and participation by young people would increase.
We the people must start to involve young adults in politics. One way we could start to involve young people is by instituting a political process in our schools. The program must follow the same steps used by the politicians.
Political war must not take place on television between candidates. These wars between candidates only serve as a turn off for young people. Political candidates that debate the issues are more likely to capture the interest of young people, and when young people becomes interested in a topic, we then have an increase in young adults participation.
Remember people tend to follow examples set by leaders. If our candidates would show leadership instead of flashing how much money they have, or who have the best commercial add, or who have been a CEO in the past, or dragging their opponent name through the mud, we might be able to once again influence young adults to increase participation in politics.
Politicians need to get back to basics. They must not stop campaigning after the election; it is an on going process that must not stop. We must continue to see the elected official actively working on the issues that are important to us.
To increase the participation we must all take responsibility for our system of government. We must understand the political process, communicate our political ideas that will jump-start all Americans. We must all take charge and do the politically right thing "VOTE".
The education of our young citizens plays a big role in the electoral process. Schools must be given the resources to upgrade the education process. The teachers of today are not demanding excellence from us; some teachers are satisfied with students who are just average. This is accepted nation wide. No longer it seems, do we have to strive for excellence. It seems to be a social norm that average is good enough.
To increase political participation teachers must challenge their students politically. How am I to understand our government, if we are only required to take a government class for only one year? We must be required to take American Government every year, with the 11th and 12th grade focused on the political process based on the Electoral College. It would be of great interest to see all 11th and 12th grade students having constructive debate on the current political process. You would be impressed with the increase of young people involved in the political process.
Please understand the frustration of young adults like myself. We want to be involved, but there is no mechanism to show us the right way. Please empower the schools to implement a political process program, and I am confident you will see significant increase in young adult participation in the political process.
ADRIENNE A. DANIELS
Essay themes: Aggressively court youth, make voting easier
I can remember being about 8 years old and going to the polls with my mother. I was excited about it because it made me feel grown-up. When we got there, I was not allowed to go into the actual booth with my mother. I sat outside and felt disconnected from everything, as if what was going on did not effect my everyday life. As, I got older I knew that when I turned 18, I would be able to vote. But, it was never pressing. If a program were initiated to bring the politicians to the children was started, they would feel as if voting and elections actually affected their lives. I am not saying that huge, structured debates should be brought in to them. But, a simple assembly for elementary aged students would put them more in the political mindset. They would begin to actually feel what was going on around them, maybe even understand. Granted many of the presidential debates have "better" places to travel than into our schools, but it could be a good setting for someone like a comptroller, or even a mayor, to go. See, I grew up not really knowing what each individual person in government did. I had the book smarts on their positions, but not the street smarts. If I had had a better base of knowledge then. I might have had more of a fire to vote when the time came. As kids get older, focus changes. The first major move comes from elementary to high school. There, it gets a bit harder to hold their attention. With all of the distractions in high school, such as getting your driver's license and dating, voting is not such a big deal to you. After 16, it seems that the next major birthday is 21. Why? Well, then you are completely legal. So, one redundant suggestion is to lower the voting age. Granted, I understand that with the age being at 18, there is hoped to be a higher maturity level from the voters. But, in all honesty, 16 is not that far from 18 in mentality. I learned more from 18 to 19 than I did in four years of high school. The reality of things is that if you made sort of a package deal out of turning 16, you might be able to grab more voters. Think about it, you can register to vote when you get your driver's license. Therefore, along with the sensation of that new picture, and freedom, you gain the right to vote. If anything else, that would get more registered voters. You wouldn't want to waste all of the maturity that you just gained, freedom to drive, freedom to vote all rolled up into one -- not too many high schoolers would be able to resist. Another suggestion is that like the elementary schools, bring the politicians into the high schools. Let two politicians come in for a debate followed by a question and answer period for the students. Immediately following that offer for anyone who is not registered to stay after a little and register. They will do it first because they now have an idea as to what they would be voting for, and second because who doesn't want to miss a few more minutes of class. It's tricky, but it's true. In order to get them to vote you have to see from their level. Also, it might be a good idea to bring the polls into the school, not all of them, but maybe one. And let the students vote during the school day. They would not have to worry about missing study time for a test because they were trying to find a poll, or any other excuse. All of these suggestions make it just that more simple to vote. And, it sets a trend. People are more apt to do something if they are already accustomed to it.
By lowering the voting age to 16 and starting the voting in the schools, more students may continue voting out of habit. Voting on the college age is different. We are at the stage in our lives where adult habits should be picking up. Many students go to out of state schools, and have to take out absentee ballots in order to vote. How many college age students are going to do that? Now, they can get a driver's license for the state that they are in. But, since that does not help declare residency, why try? However if one of the ways to get in-state tuition were to register and actively vote in the state that they attend school in, the voter turnout would rise. Also if, once again, you brought the polls to the campus, that would make it just that much easier for them. Another thing is the fact that every time you move, you have to re-register to vote. In your college career, odds are that you will move at least three times, and who wants to re-register every time? If college students were allowed to register to vote with the basis of school e-mail accounts that would change things. Then, they would only have to re-register to vote when they graduated from college. This would effect my voting especially because the reason that I am not registered to vote is because I go to an out-of-state school, and my mother just moved. This means that in order to vote, I have to get back to my home state and re-register. Right now, that is right up there next to impossible. Voter turnout is something that will not be changed overnight. But through, time with patience, changes and input, things can improve. We just have to take the initiative and get things done. To quote the St.Louis Rams "Gotta go to work."
Essay themes: Lower the voting age, easier voter registration, education
Voting is a problem among the younger generation. People are always making excuses for not voting, aren't they? "I didn't know it was Election Day", or "Election day? Who cares." Youth today do not care about politics, issues, or the affects they may have, do they? Of course they do. I believe that the lack of young voters is not due primarily to the apathy of young adults. As a 20-year-old college student, I rarely have time to follow the campaigns of political figures, or watch the news every day. Yet that is the only coverage of politics that I can find. Voting is a very serious issue. So how can we impress upon the younger generation how important it is? One way would be to lower the voting age. This is one of the more common reforms referred to, but I believe it will make a difference. If a 16-year-old is mature enough to handle a motor vehicle, then he/she is old enough to make a decision concerning the country he/she lives in. One might say a 16-year-old is not politically knowledgeable. So why not teach politics in school? Make "Introduction to Politics" a required class in High schools. I did not know anything about politics until I entered college. Teach High school students what Democrats and Republicans stand for. Inform them about the current politicians. Make them learn. Another way to encourage youth to vote is to have voter registration forms available for them when they get their driver's license. I had never even registered to vote until I got my license renewed, when I was 19. Most youth do not know where they can go to get registered, or they do not have time to get registered. Election Day should be made into a National Holiday. It would raise awareness among the younger generation. Students and young adults would remember to vote because it would be announced all over the place. Making Election Day a holiday would increase its popularity. People would feel that if they did not vote, they were being unpatriotic. Another way to increase voting among the youth is to have voting booths in the high schools. Even if the voting age is not lowered, there are many high school seniors who are 18. If the voting booths were easily accessible, then there would be more voters. That would also make it easier for faculty and staff to vote. There are many school officials who cannot vote because they are working during the voting hours. The people who say that youth today do not care about the government are making a foolish generalization. The youth today do not know about the government: how it works, whom it involves, and how it affects them. Knowledge leads to a better understanding, which leads to youth taking an active part in politics. We have to provide a means of informing them about current issues and politicians. As I mentioned earlier, most high school and college students do not have time to catch up on the current events and issues. So when it comes time for Election Day, they have no idea what the election is even for. It is America's duty to inform today's youth about politics, not blame them for their lack of participation. The key to getting more young people to vote is lowering the voting age, teaching politics in school, making registration for voting more accessible, putting voting booths in schools, and making election day more well-known. The Youth today are not indifferent to voting; they are ignorant of what they are voting for. They need guidance, knowledge, and lessons from the generation above them. Knowledge is everything.
Essay themes: Decline of participation, structure of government, states' rights
As such sentiment perpetuates, public political involvement plummets, which future generations tend to inherit. Thus past isolation by the government develops into future disregard as can be seen by the plummeting political participation by young people. To remedy such action, the government must deliver its power back to the public that empowered it. Such delivery will allow young people to believe that their participation matters.
The end of the Civil War destroyed much of the sentiment for states rights. The South had to be reliant on the North to at least begin a program for reform. Civil Rights advocates sought for equality for women as well as the black population. Such groups had to look to government for help as public sentiment condemned them. The rise of "Big Business" looked for government support that eventually isolated both parties from public sentiment. In an effort at reform, the government began supporting the strikes that it once broke. Hoping for growth and the power to compete, government action instituted the Sixteenth Amendment for taxation upon public request. Finally, Roosevelt's New Deal imposed government dominance of most facilities, foreshadowing the role that the government was to play in the future. All of these occurrences helped develop an American public that would be so dependent on its government as to be submissive to every federal request.
The government that was created subordinate to individual states unified such bodies and, through tax-funded programs, created a sense of dependency that empowered it beyond expectations. As generations pass, many of the founding principles of democracy are lost with them. As these principles are lost, public faith in the system to facilitate common desires are lost as well. The impact created by young people will appear slight, and political participation by young generations shall continue to decrease. To say that the policies of democracy are lost is, perhaps, too stringent. Though they no longer exist in our current society, such principles can still be found in the American Constitution. Though such document is glorified and explained, seldom is its true meaning interpreted or expressed. Yet, the Constitution still remains. The current government is in dire need of reform. However, to ask for the needed measures is to ask the winning team to trade their star players.
Reform must come from within. Thus, such public in the same fashion by which it was lost must retrieve the power that was taken from the public. The impact of the Founding Fathers intentions, often buried under bureaucracy, must be re-discovered and evaluated in the same sense by which America was founded. The people must be empowered, yet it is neither government responsibility nor favor that will accomplish such task. That is not to place the entire blame upon the public, however. The creators of the current governmental policies must evaluate their handiwork. Such evaluation must, in turn, demonstrate reform in government mentality. Legislative reform is an aged and failed attempt within our society. To be effective, the reform must begin in the mind, felt in the heart, and only then will such sentiment be placed upon paper.
To accomplish such needed reform, the public must have the
initiative to evaluate the desired definition of democracy,
and the governing body must have the humility to adopt such
standards for its actions. Through the aforementioned reforms,
the people that created it may once again govern the government.
Public empowerment in such sense would inevitably increase the
political participation of young people, as corruption would
not override their sentiment. Public sentiment would govern
the actions of its government and create a sense of unity that
could only further empower the nation. In so doing, a strong
nation could be established without a strong government.
The definition of a democratic society would further be upheld
and revered as the model system of government. The American
government was created with public sentiment as its guiding
light. However, the growing pains felt by such a young nation
persuaded the public to request governmental reform. Such policy
of reform eventually created a sense of public dependence upon
the government that would define the structure and intent of
the body through the present sense. The maturity of the nation
no longer renders such aid, yet the current structure refuses
surrender of its absolute power. To maintain such status, the
government imposes further reforms, increasing public dependency
of its power. Absolute reform must begin with the public body,
accepted by the ruling body, and tolerated by all affected.
Such education, acceptance, and toleration will permit for lasting
reform, growing political participation and increased interest
Essay themes: Lack of issue relevancy, young people aren't voting because they're not registered and not knowledgeable regarding the issues
Education Before Youth Participation
The major problem affecting voter turnout among young people today is coined by the popularly stated, "I don't know and I don't care." Politics have not drawn my attention since the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski scandal. The pressing issues, which affect our country today neither relate to young people, nor have young people educated themselves on many political issues which would allow them to stake an opinion on the issue either way. The youth of our nation is intrigued with sex scandals, impeachment, trash-talking, and investigations into the secret life of a congressman on Dateline. They are simply uninterested in who can balance the budget while decreasing taxes and unemployment. Society today is faced with the harsh realities of a rebellious youth, completely disconnected with the political scene because they believe their decisions made today will not affect them tomorrow. From this observation our nation can begin to reform previous methods or produce a previously absent policy for involving the nation's youth with politics.
Most people whom I have conversed with can be categorized into three groups: those who are not registered to vote, those who are unknowledgeable of the candidates political platforms, and finally those who are unaware an election is even taking place! The question is not how to involve young people but first how to educate young people of the importance of politics and its impact on the country. Thereafter, progress can be made toward better voter turnout among the country's youth.
Many reformers believe the key to involvement is to change many aspects of the electoral process such as lowering the voting age, requiring broadcasted debates among candidates, providing access to internet voting, and providing election-day registration. I strongly feel it is in the best interests of our nation to educate young citizens on political issues before we encourage their right to vote. It is important for the United States to be represented and voice its opinion as a whole; including people of all races, genders, and ages, however, would you want the fate of our country dependent upon a young person who has never entertained themselves with the issues affecting politics today?
Schools play an enormous role in the knowledge students retain, therefore, government, politics, and present day worldly issues should be implemented as mandatory subjects to be studied on an annual basis. If a young person's interests are strong enough, then they can pursue their right to vote. No one can force persons' rights upon them, but each individual should be given the opportunity to pursue them in an educated manner.
Public broadcasting coverage of campaigns usually focuses on bashing the opponent rather than informing the public of their campaign platform and encouraging the general population to vote. While these tactics may be vital in discrediting the opponent, it serves as a poor representation of politics for today's youth. While much of the blame can be placed upon young people for not involving themselves with the nation's political affairs, they cannot solely be blamed. How can government and politics expect to be taken seriously when they are providing such poor role models and are constantly tainted by scandals and bribes? The nation's political figures need to clean up their act before they seek to draw out the participation of our youth.
As previously mentioned, campaign advertising is scarce and that which is telecast and broadcast provides no factual and intellectual benefits to the public. That is why I believe in government sponsorship of campaign advertising through school programs and community programs. The government spends its tax dollars on everything else, why not use it towards the benefit of the future of the United States? If youths are allowed access to the truthful information of every political campaign and candidate, rather than provided with the media's perception of the event, young people would be more well informed and eager to voice their opinion in the harsh political arena.
As a 17- year -old female I have not yet been granted the right to vote, but I can appreciate that right and understand the importance of implementing it. Next June, when I turn 18, I will register myself to vote. And starting June of this year and all the years following I will make my vote a meaningful and educated one.
APRIL L KOONSE
Essay themes: Effect of candidates who appeal to young people, education about voting, lowering the voting age
In 1972 , the first presidential voting year after the minimum voting age was lowered to eighteen, only fifty percent of the eligible eighteen to twenty- four year olds voted. In 1996 only thirty-two percent of that age group voted. There is an unfortunate cycle occurring. Politicians do not focus on the young, because of the low turnout. In turn the young do not vote, because they can not identify with the campaigns. The youth feel that the issues that the politicians are promoting, such as Medicaid, do not affect them in any way. Candidates have not learned what issues are relevant to young people. It is wrong to think that the youth are unaware and uncaring Generation Xers. Issues important to the young are affordable education, student's loans, and animal rights. Politicians are sometimes unwilling or unable to spend the money to target the young people.
Many young people who do not vote claim that they simply do not have enough time in their busy schedules to go to the voting booths. Voting should be easily accessible to them to encourage voting. There should be options such as voting by telephone, online registration, and booths set up at popular youth hangouts. School and college campuses should house voting booths to encourage participation.
Some youth feel that their vote will not matter, and the politicians are going to do what they want to anyway. If students were shown how much politics affect daily life in ways that they are not even aware of, they would want to get involved. There should be political involvement at a local level, so students could see first hand the impact of their votes. They would see that they could make a difference after all. Youth should be encouraged to vote on issues and candidates in the cities where they live. If the results of their vote or lack thereof, would affect them on a personal level they would be more motivated to vote.
There are groups that have noticed the problem of the lack of youth voting, and have come up with a very creative solution. Rock the Vote is an independent voter advocacy group that gained attention by teaming with MTV during the 1992 election. The goal of rock the vote is to educate young people on the issue. Many students are unaware of the opportunities that exist by voting. Many youth follow the lead of role models. Rock the Vote took this as an advantage to inspire youth to vote. They enlisted the help of singer Sheryl Crow who promoted voting at Rock the Vote events. Celebrity supporters and innovative creations will start the wave of youth voting.
Fewer than one-third of eligible eighteen to twenty four year olds voted in the 1996 elections compared with sixty-five percent of those over forty-five. Governor Jesse Ventura showed that when a candidate excites young people they will do their part. In 1998 he won his office with thirty seven percent of the vote in a three-way race. He could not have done it without the voters under age thirty. Nearly half of who picked him versus the twenty - three percent of those over thirty. As a former wrestler, Jesse Ventura had a background different than those of the other candidates. This made Jesse Ventura easier to identify with to the under thirty crowd. He was different, funny, and exciting. He struck a chord with the youth, and won the election. The youth must be interested by the candidate and campaign in order to vote. Rebellious attitudes and pragmatic politics appeal to young people. A candidate must be willing to take on the system, speak the truth, and break the conventional rules. In order to gain the admiration and votes of the youth a candidate must dare to be different. The youth will became involved in politics when they can identify with the candidate and relate to the campaign.
Many youth were never taught the power to process of voting. Curriculum on the importance of voting should be taught in school. The curriculum by design and the curiosity of young minds will be transported into the household. Elections and voting would once again become a popular household topic. Parents should take their children with them when they go to vote. The children when they grow older will follow this positive example. The right to vote should be taught as an important privilege and rite of passage into adulthood. Perhaps it would be more effective to lower the voting age to sixteen. If a young adult is allowed to get a driver's license at that age and operate a motor vehicle, they should be allowed to have the power to vote and operate their nation. The voting registration could even be included in the process of obtaining a driver's license. This would naturally ignite a new interest in voting for all age groups.
The youth should be shown the voting laws in other countries, and realize how lucky they are. There are people in other countries who would die for the right to vote. Wars have been fought and thousands of men have died for the freedom of The United States. This freedom allows Americans the right to vote, and it is a valuable thing to waste. There is no greater power than the power of a vote.
LUCI M STANLEY
Essay theme: Educating young people about politics
I was very naive when I came to college. I thought that I had been well prepared. After all, I did graduate in the top ten percent of my class. However, as I found my niche and met new people, I realized how little I knew. I was not only clueless to common knowledge about the world, but current world events would come into conversation and I was unable to participate because of my ignorance of the subjects. The more often this happened, the more I grew angry and disappointed with the quality of education I had received thus far.
As government-funded institutions, public schools, of all systems, should encourage political knowledge, thought and involvement. History and social studies classes are very important to our society, but current events, what is going on in our society today, are being abandoned in the lessons. Several of my classes in high school required biweekly assignments called "current events," but these were usually fulfilled in a scramble five minutes before class began and were accepted due to the fact that no class discussion supplemented the task. The older and more experienced I become, the more I realize that schools and government cannot be blamed for all ailments to society. Some, in fact, probably more responsibility lies in the hands of the parents of America's youth.
Growing up, I watched the news with my parents and even asked questions when I was confused or curious, but never did I take into account the importance of being informed. Though my parents are both active, registered voters, and they did teach us that voting was both a duty as well as a privilege of the American people, they neglected to instruct me and my siblings how exactly we would obtain information in order to deduce our own views. Obviously, watching the news was one good source, but I wish they had sparked more political dinner conversations, or encouraged us to think more deeply about such things. Instead, like many other American teens, I focused more on schoolwork or sports or whatever else was convenient and accepted as something appropriately important for some one of my age.
American youth have become lazy. With the advent of computers and the continuing advancement of technology, Americans, from a very young age, are taught that some one else will take care of their problems--that some one else will always be there to clean up their messes. Most adolescents have no idea what responsibilities accompany the rights they have been given by the struggles and perils of our forefathers. Our youth has no idea what impact one vote makes or how one decision can greatly affect their way of life. I guess the real questions I am trying to answer are, "How do we tell them? How can we let them know this great importance?"
Though knowing the cause is imperative to creating a solution, a resolution to this growing lack of involvement is more important than the cause. As we realize more and more that American homes are missing proper values and enlightenment of these values, more emphasis is being placed on our school systems. I propose a class called "Current Events" or (something related). In response to the weight applied by our society to our education system. This course would be designed specifically for getting young people involved in politics of our country as well as our world. The teachers' responsibilities would be to simply facilitate group discussions about goings-on and encourage students to develop their own views and ideas about the subjects. With less emphasis on written assignments and tests, a student would be more likely to participate freely and not feel behind in progress for missing an assignment or not doing as well on an exam as another student. In an ideal situation, these discussions would teach the students not only the importance of being involved in the decision-making process, but also how to obtain the quality of information needed in order to come to the most logical decision or view on an issue. Also ideally, this class would be required for graduation in all schools just as math or science is. Perhaps in some schools, this class already exists. However, a course like this was non-existent in my high school, and I feel very deprived and tardy to my maturation of expertise regarding government issues.
Maybe the questions we should be asking the slumbering elders of America are actually a lot like these: "With the level of involvement we have encouraged our youth to take, where will America be in 20 years?" or "Will America BE in 20 years?"