Essay themes: engagement of youth; education
SANDRA P. RIVERA
KATHERINE M. MUSICK
WENDY A. BRADLEY
CHRISTINA M. LEBLANC
Essay themes: engagement of youth; education
The involvement does not stop with simple voting, but also with campaigning, working towards getting the word out about issues, or listening to the issues on the radio or television. Political figures do a lot of work to please the public, that is the older public. There needs to be more work put into developing strategies to get the attention of the youth of America today. In the US today there is not much you can do before the age of 25, so there is a sense of what can I do to change the way things occur. The youth of today are not looked upon as being very responsible, and are constantly being ridiculed instead of praised for the good things they do. Most of the time when the news comes on all you see is how some youth of today has shot, stabbed, murdered some one or robbed some place or person. There are thousands more youth of today that are accomplishing great academic records, athletic records, and community service records.
The focus is in the wrong direction and that is one of the main reasons we do not see a large number of youth being involved. Take the time out to put yourself in our shoes and see if you would want to be in a place where you do not belong or a place where you do not feel a part of. All youth do not feel this way, but the positive ones are going in this direction. In each age group there is a certain amount of people who just do not participate, but in this arena you have to work with those who are willing to work with you. Show more interest in the youth issues and we will feel as though we matter and what we do counts for something. More focus can create a better change for us all, and maybe the youth of today will become more involved to help make better politicians for years to come.
The first time I voted was exciting because I knew that people had to struggle to vote years before me, and that they went through that struggle to make things better for themselves and for others to come. Even though it was not a big election I was still thrilled to finally be a part of something bigger than me. What I was voting on did not affect me, but it would affect my sister and my little cousins so I had an interest in it all. The election held was for the school board in our district. There was not much focus or mention of voting at my high school, even though the majority of my senior class was of legal age to vote. More work must be done to get the younger groups attention. There is so much work put into involving others, but in this case the youth are minorities and the others that need some serious focus. The best way to start to stir up some motion or involvement in the younger generation is to have a campaign focused on what are some issues or problems our group looks at or that interest us.
In other countries more responsibility is placed in front of their youth, and a lot of those people are able to be a part of things because they understand and know what is going on. We have to get out of that kid mode thinking and focus on what can I do to help. Those individuals who are young and are already involved need to be at the forefront of this campaign. It is easier to relate to some one who is coming from the same time as you. This is also the computer age, and it is known that a lot of young adults spend time on the computer, so reach out to them in that way a lot. The big cable station they view like MTV, BET, or VH1 can be a way of connecting with them in a bigger frame. When you are young your main focus is to enjoy life to the fullest, and if you could show them that being involved could be enjoyable and helpful to their future then you have a winner. These types of attributes would bring development up in great numbers. Also, most young adults know if they plan on making it in this world today they have to have a degree, and after the degree comes money. A lot of the youth want to be in the money.
There has to be some focus on that aspect of things, just like there is focus on social security for senior citizens. There are many improvements that could be made, but some would just make things worse, for example lowering the voting age would not help because you already have a lot of people of age to vote who do not understand the process. The US has always been about educating. Why not educate those who are of age and those who will be coming of age, so they will have a clearer understanding. Making election day a holiday would not solve the problem either, it would just be another day for people to stay at home and chill out. I do not think more young adults would come out and vote. The best approach here is to try and get the youths attention. Put more time and effort into that position and things and there will be a large increase in the number of voters between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. The Internet voting idea could spark an increase especially since a lot of individuals in this age group spend a lot of their time surfing the net as it is said. A lot of people see stress during election day, because they have to rush from work or wherever they may be, change their schedule around do they will make it to the polls on time. Many people decide to avoid this stress all together by simply not participating or in this matter not voting.
Essay themes: abolishing political parties, squabbling, runoff
When I turned 18, I wanted to vote, but all I really knew was what I learned on "Rock The Vote" ads on MTV. I've tried hard to learn about parties, the electoral process, candidates, and issues. Only now, seven years later, do I feel I'm beginning to form opinions that are educated enough to consider party affiliation or voter responsibility. But there are still problems that I believe are common to many my age. Squabbling among political candidates is repulsive, America's electoral system is antiquated and too complex, and our party system exerts a powerfully negative influence upon both candidates and voters. Campaign Squabbling Campaign mudslinging inspires more cynicism than patriotism. For example, in the Republican camp, John McCain and George W. Bush agreed earlier in the year to run clean campaigns - no personal attacks. Soon after, Bush called McCain a hypocrite for running a platform of campaign finance reform while taking the money he wants to abolish. McCain responded that Bush promised no personal attacks, calling McCain a hypocrite is a personal attack, and therefore how can anyone believe what Bush says? Bush said that calling him untrustworthy was an unfair attack, and meanwhile changed his platform from "Compassionate Conservatism" to "A Reformer With Results, copying the strategy that served McCain so well. So instead of hearing about what these men intend to do as President and what values they espouse, we get to hear them bicker like five-year old children. "Did not! Did too!" is an exchange far beneath the dignity of our nation's leaders.
I believe that it is not the characters of these men that is lacking. I think most of the candidates would serve adequate presidencies. Rather the juvenile behavior of the men running for office is a product of the political environment in which we are all suffocating.
Electoral Process: Our politics were born at the end of the 18th century. There were no phones, televisions, or cars. Electricity was as new and avant-garde then as the Internet is today. Communication within the thirteen colonies was literally bound to the horse's back. Under such limitations, America needed the kind of representation built into the Constitution. Most citizens could not meet their candidates; yet, they could elect people they knew and trusted to travel to the Capital and vote for them. However, 21st century technology has made such representation superfluous. To complicate things further add primary elections (where we vote for which people we want to vote for later), caucuses (which are the same, but different), special interest groups, campaign managers, and lobbyists. Mix well and serve with two aspirin.
The Party System: The Party limits what a candidate may profess. Members are similar enough to tempt a candidate to try to appeal to everyone. Can a candidate be true to himself without offending someone in the Party? Two parties divide our nation along artificial lines. Too often it seems that government sacrifices its concept of right and wrong in exchange for partisan boundaries. Henry Louis Mencken said, "Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule, and both commonly succeed, and are right". What a waste of energies. When our leaders no longer worry about whether an issue is too Republican or Democratic to support; when the dynamics of a power struggle between two parties no longer exist; when we truly are one nation, indivisible, then our leaders will be free to focus on what's right for America and Her people. My political philosophies don't conveniently follow party boundaries.
I couldn't attend college without government money. I support gun control, a flat tax, free market over government regulation, and prayer in schools. I am anti-abortion. I think America's children need to learn morality, even from the Ten Commandments. I support President Clinton's efforts to bring businesses and venture capital into poor neighborhoods. In our two-party system I fall squarely outside both. Outside the parties, what power do I have? Where can my voice be heard? What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?
George Eliot My solution to the Rube Goldberg machine of American politics is simple. First, abolish parties. We won't need them. Everyone should be elected based on his personal qualifications. Second, our presidential candidates are applying for a job. When I apply for a job, my campaign consists of one piece of paper - my resume. It lists my objectives, experience, education, and skills. An applicant for the job of presidency needs a resume. On one page, he lists the reasons why we should hire him. He lists his experience, skills, and qualifications. He states briefly where he stands on certain issues relevant to the welfare and concern of the people. References are also important to a resume. They provide employers means to obtain independent information about the applicant. Media articles and Internet sites could be listed as presidential candidate references and those citizens interested could delve in. These resumes should be released to the public several months before the election and then the politician goes back to work. We then have time to research if we wish, and more importantly, to watch the candidate at work (instead of wasting time campaigning). Third, overhaul elections. Set up laptop computers in the ballot box. Connect them to Washington via the Internet. Connect home computers the same way. On the computer the voter logs on by entering a personal identification number to ensure one vote per person. The voter then reads the resumes and select the applicant she feels is most suited to the job. The vote is cast from a different web page than the logon page to preserve the integrity of a secret ballot. The results are instantly tallied. If no candidate wins by a 50% margin, a runoff election is held a week later between the top two candidates. It's that simple. Every citizen of the United States has an equal voice in choosing who will lead the country for the next four years.
American politics gives politicians great latitude to spend money copiously, waste time abundantly, and basically behave badly. At the same time its structure effectively excludes many citizens from rewarding participation and restricts individual expression. Meaningful reform while simple in concept will only come at a great sacrifice to those who are currently profiting from the status quo. However, if the end result uplifts, empowers, and ennobles America such a sacrifice must be made.
Essay themes: Leadership, character
Every morning in second period my class stands facing toward a red, white and blue symbol. This symbol is the flag of the United States of America. As we stand, memorized and thoughtless words come to my lips. With vague memories of past presidents and American battles, I toss them to the air. They say nothing of how patriotic I am, how I feel about the current presidential state, or how thankful I am to live in America. The Pledge of Allegiance is simply a string of words flowing from my mouth, yet absent from my heart. When I reflect on this, I realize that as a citizen of this country, I have a responsibility to hold these words with a higher honor than memorization bestows. These words not only reflect how I feel about the current makeup of America, but how America was made. They reflect not only how I feel about the leaders who have governed America, but how they have governed it. I share these words with presidents who display relentless dedication, political wisdom, and strong moral character. I also share these words with presidents who lack these qualities. What is the relationship between the personal character of our political leaders and their ability to govern wisely? The same difference that lies between a memorized Pledge of Allegiance and a heartfelt one. Voting in this nation has decreased because the quality of leaders who govern this nation has decreased. The quality of leaders has decreased because the voters do not take the time to choose the most apt candidate. It's a cycle of moral character on both parts of the voter and the leaders, which must be changed.
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf once commented, "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy." This comment stands true in all areas of life. Leadership is taught in schools throughout the nation. Children are sent to summer camps to become better "leaders." They are encouraged to run for student office, involve themselves in club activities, and assert their opinions. Children are taught this because they are the future government of our nation. Yet, in order to become a leader, one must have a group of willing followers, and in order to have followers, one must be respected. With strong, moral character, comes this respect and following. The majority of American people throughout time have elected a candidate to office who they believe would improve the condition of the country. In order to do this, the candidate must display honesty in his promises, knowledge in his field, and a genuine interest in the ideas of the American people. These character traits emphasize that the stronger the character, the stronger the leader. The history of America confirms this point, as does the immense popularity of the late president, George Washington. During the American Revolution, Washington was labeled not only as a man of authentic integrity, but as a humble soul. His character allowed him to take advice from respected elders, as well as to trust his own judgment. These character traits allowed him to be one of the most prominent and successful leaders of our time. He was both the commander in chief of the Continental army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States. To this day, Washington is considered a symbol of "American virtue." This virtue is more than a contemporary standard of honesty, but a reason for the success of our nation. The citizens of the United States in Washington's time admired his character and supported his morals so extensively that they requested he remain president for a life term. However, because of Washington's concern for the country, he denied the life term and finally compromised at two, four-year terms. He did this simply on his belief that it would be better for the country if he shortened his term. This selfless ideal of the presidential position was branded into each of our founding fathers - the same men who wrote our Constitution, carved our values into it, and built our country from its foundation. If this Constitution is simply a thin piece of paper with dated words from men who lived hundreds of years ago, what has preserved this paper, defended its words, and protected the strength of its power in our country? The presidential character of the leaders who created our Constitution, and the character of the leaders who have continued to defend it. Without the strong character of our founding fathers, our country would be a prejudiced, selfish battlefield, concentrated alone on personal gain. The same people who break our laws would make them. The same people who corrupt our children would raise them. The honor that is contained in the title "leader" is a powerful one. To gain this power, the morals that are instilled in the children at their "summer leadership camps," or the presidents of their school clubs must be strong and effective. A leader is a teacher, a visionary, and a mirror image of what the next generation of leaders will become. John Maxwell emphasizes the importance of these qualities by commenting, "Leadership is influence."
The topic of this essay is ironic in itself because of the current state of our country. In my life as a youth of this nation, politics has been a simple voice drowned in the newscasters of the television screen. The truth may be disheartening, but revealing, that a presidential scandal has become a focal point of American attention. This attraction to scandal shows that in a country where only a small percentage of registered voters actually vote in elections, that over 74 million people will turn on the television to watch Monica Lewinsky bare all. This fascination suggests that the common person is more interested in the soap opera, than foreign affairs. It asks the American public the same question this essay asks me - and suddenly, I have an opinion.
I watch the trials go by, and the polls come out. I see the conforming opinions of our country's citizens determine the future of our president. And, though I have mixed emotions on the outcome of the trial, I realize that a connection in moral character and presidential performance exists. When personal affairs are in the spotlight, there is clearly a lack of focus on the job to be accomplished. An immoral action always has a consequence. And, though I'd prefer to believe that a president could do his job effectively by separating his work from his personal life, I realize that this belief is a fallacy. A powerful position like the president of the United States of America must be upheld with all the respect and dignity of the oath of office or even the Pledge of Allegiance.
In order to be a worthy citizen of the United States, I must do more than memorize a simple pledge, but understand the spirit of what it illustrates. In order to be a successful leader of the United States, a president must do more than recite an oath of office; he must respect it and uphold it - in his job, and his personal life. And, every morning in second period when my class stands facing toward a red, white and blue symbol - I realize that a strong character is what lets me understand the spirit of this flag and is what lets a president earn the position to defend it.
Essay themes: Make registering to vote easier; better information about candidates
The sad circumstance of the plummeting political participation among young people is an important issue. The young people of today are the future of our country and our political system. Often times, revamping the country's political system in various ways is suggested to change this current trend among the young voters. However, for many years this system has been fairly effective and would be very difficult to change now. Look at the political system as if it were a business. If the business is not accumulating the customer base it wishes the first step it will most likely take is to accommodate the customer than change the product. Therefore, I recommend gaining the participation of youth by focusing on the youth and not the system. Not to be rude to my own age group, but most of us take on the stance that politics is corrupt, confusing, not worth our time, or just too much work. On my campus, I get the feeling that only those who wish to become lawyers and politicians seem to care about the state of our government. The others feel that politics is out there, but is hardly affecting their personal lifestyle right now. Yet, we hope for the federal funds that help us pay for college.
If politics were simplified in to a way that it seemed to be for the common man, rather than the political elite, we would probably at least pretend to care. Most of us do not even know how to participate. In Texas, we had to take Government in order to graduate. Most people when they entered had no clue as to how the government worked and what their own role as voter was. We came out of this class more likely to participate or at least seem knowledgeable about our government at the end of the course. When we finally know our role, how do we become voters? I appreciated the service of registering for voting when I renewed my license on my eighteenth birthday. I did not have to go to the extra trouble of registering on my own. I had already stood in line to renew a license I deemed necessary to have (like many people my age) and might as well register to vote at the same time. I go to a college in another state that does not use this process. So many of my friends complain about how they have to remember to mail this "thing" in. I am sorry, but remembering to mail in a voter registration form seems to be a little much to ask of the person who is in college. We are either too lazy or have too much on our minds to think about mailing our registration; we already have difficulty remembering to call our parents.
Another thing, in some states, we are asked to declare a party. So many college students do not know their position. They know their parents may be Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Does this mean I should be too? What is the difference? Am I stuck with this decision for life? These are questions that boggle the young voter's mind when asked what party they belong to. Then there is the issue of having to register for a certain period of time before you can vote. Many students do not think about wanting to vote till the election is at hand. Many students procrastinate on their homework; asking them not to procrastinate on registering seems almost ridiculous. Before we even enter the polls, voting is made more complicated for the average college student. We are asked to vote for people we know nothing about. We could be responsible and research, but when faced with tests, friends, relationships, and parties, it seems research on the candidates falls to the bottom of the endless list of things to do. What if the people came to speak at our colleges and universities? If they sat down with us in the cafeteria we would probably feel some sort of responsibility to the candidate. We would at least have an idea if we would want to vote for this candidate.
I attended Girls State and heard many speakers. During their speeches and conversations, the girls were able to fill out a ballot for the next election without hesitation. We were willing to fill out a ballot and were understanding of who we wanted to win on the ballot. I recommend community talks within the cafeteria at a college more than I would a formal debate or speech in the auditorium. The students who are motivated to register will be the ones attending and not the students we wish to convince that their vote is worthwhile. These sought after students will be in the cafeterias chatting with friends and eating. Go to the students, do not try to convince those who are unsure that they should come to you.
After the student has managed to actually accomplish the duties of registration and learning about the candidates, they must figure how to handle the actual voting. Where does one go to vote? When can a person vote, seeing as there are so many classes and the polls are only open for so long? Then there are some people like myself; we do not attend a college in the same state we are registered to vote in. Getting an absentee ballot seems like a daunting process for one vote.
Young people have many things on their plates with being out
on their own, being new adults, and attending college. The current
mind set towards politics does not make political participation
a high priority for most of these people. We do not have a perfect
system, but changing it will not create the desired spark that
would have the young population wanting to participate. By making
the ability to participate more accessible to the youth, their
support would have a better chance of growing and developing
to provide the desired movement in youth participation in the
Essay themes: Overcoming Generation X political apathy
Washington is a mess! My vote does not matter! The world is out of control! Politicians have no sense of honor anymore and are only accountable to special interest groups! These are sentiments expressed by today's young people in response to criticism of their political apathy. They agree with Gore Vidal who said, "Apparently a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates". To protect the future of society and prevent degradation of our life styles, today's young people, also known as the X generation, must become actively involved in our nation's political process. This generation is poorly informed on public affairs and sees politicians as unwilling to take accountable positions. They must come face to face with the realization that, in the words of Plato, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." To overcome their distrust of commitment, major reforms are needed to embrace diversity while promoting unity, which retains and respects individual identities.
Our generation, being burned by broken promises and dysfunctional families, cries out for real leadership and family and community values and wants to be treated as individuals, not products to be used up and discarded. Today's young people, or the X generation, are media driven and have an insatiable appetite for information, which has not been met by the political system. Since X'ers are interested in direct forms of democracy, different rules and new methods are needed to obtain their support.
Our current electoral process is outdated, not responsive to current day needs, and should be replaced with a multiparty system. Because the X generation sees both Republicans and Democrats as devoid of leadership that actually stands and delivers on promises, they are more likely to respond to independent political candidates. This tendency was clearly shown in the 1998 election of Governor Jesse Ventura, a political dark horse seen as challenging the status quo, who actively informed and sought the participation of young people.
Another enhancement to promote participation of X'ers is same day voter registration. This takes advantage of the shorter attention spans and increased need for immediate positive feedback by those coming of age during our electronic revolution. This procedure was successfully used to create a record turn-out for the Ventura campaign.
Significant progress could be made in two critical areas by the use of electronic town hall meetings. This innovation meets the X generation's voracious need for information and provides for direct input of interests and concerns of all citizens at the grass roots level. The X generation needs to be heard and needs to see politicians providing real responses to their concerns such as:
Making government leaders truly responsible to the citizens through use of devices such as term limits and campaign finance reform.
Educational reform to improve public education and access to higher learning for all qualified individuals. Educational reform is a major concern to X'ers faced with increasing tuition costs and simultaneous decreasing federal education grants.
Major overhaul of the tax system to a more equitable system such as a flat tax or consumption tax, and taxation of polluters to clean up the environment. The fact that this area is so convoluted was even acknowledged by Albert Einstein who said, "The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax". If Einstein was at a loss in this area, what hope exists for the rest of us.
Making adequate health care available to all citizens, even temporary or contract workers.
This is a significant concern of X'ers who have seen widespread downsizing of corporations and increased emphasis on the use of contract workers. This trend has caused widespread economic insecurity throughout society due to the end of company life - time employment in exchange for employee loyalty, allegiance, and hard work. Today's youth will respond to "straight talk" and the need for shared sacrifices to fix the problems facing society. However, they must believe that their leaders are honorable, accountable, and will follow through on commitments. We want to overcome our fear of retirement as a daily struggle to survive in a polluted atmosphere by having the opportunity to fix it.
Reforming the political process will produce beneficial results of which our country is in desperate need. As X'ers become more knowledgeable and involved and accept the challenge to use our enormous creativity and possibility thinking for affirmative problem solving, a revitalized and unified political agenda will result for the benefit of our citizens. Thus, we will be able to overcome the view of Milton Friedman that, "The government's solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem".
Essay themes: Increased convenience
Noted Political Scientist Robert Dahl stated, "One of the staples of a successful democracy is equality in voting rights." By this, Dahl means that if all members of society that have the ability to cast a vote are not afforded the ability to vote, then a true consensus on an issue cannot be reached. Indeed, his analysis is correct and for the last 217 years the American government has been successful in granting more and more equality in voting rights with the passage of the 15th, 23rd, 24th, and 26th Amendments. But what Dahl fails to consider is that those who are afforded this privilege must exercise it for the democracy to be a success. Unfortunately, this failure holds true in the United States, specifically with the age group of eighteen to twenty one year olds, where voter participation is twenty percentage points lower than the national average. Indeed as the twenty first century begins, it is necessary that this integral group of individuals take a more active role in politics. For this hope to be a reality the necessary reforms that are needed to occur are actually quite simple; more convenience is needed for more participation.
The Standard College Dictionary defines convenience as "anything that saves work." If this is the definition of convenience, then convenience must describe my generation of apathetic voters. Convenience is the premise for nearly all of the actions taken by the eighteen to twenty one year old age group. Everyday millions of us eat at fast food restaurants like McDonalds, use the remote control instead of getting off the couch to change the television channel, and surf the Internet to purchase items instead going to the store. The last example of convenience is quickly defining this generation. Amongst all the age groups in this nation, the eighteen to twenty one year old group uses the Internet the most, but uses it to the advantage in getting their message out.
In December of 1999, millions of individuals came to Seattle, Washington to protest the globalization of the economy and protest the ideas presented by the World Trade Organization. Whether their protest was justified or not, the reason why this protest was so significant was that millions arrived in Seattle because the ideas quickly spread over the Internet. It was convenient for millions to get the information by just clicking a mouse instead of going to the library or using the phone. But the convenience of the Internet can be used to the advantage of the Federal Government in spreading the word of mouth about voting. World-renowned Political Scientist James Q. Wilson contends that eighty percent of those who register actually vote. He editorializes that if we get more people to register, then more people will be likely to vote. Indeed, this axiom is correct, but it must be utilized towards this age group.
For many, just registering to vote is the toughest aspect of voting. If the Federal Government starts an online advertisement campaign telling people to register to vote, then more youths will vote. But the key is that both the registration to vote and the actual balloting must occur online. According the February 5th, 2000 edition of the Economist, current Internet technology affords us the ability to complete such an amazing feat. Thus by utilizing the secure and convenient technology of the Internet, voter participation among youths will increase. Still more convenience can be utilized in making people vote so that this political system work. The current voting schedule hinders many youths from voting in both national and local elections because for the most part these youths are not at their registered home. The vast majority has either moved away for their college education, or is working in the local economy trying to make a living. But as these two groups are studying or working, they lose their ability to vote. The current national election falls on the first Tuesday of November. Yet this date is inconvenient for youths because either they are too tired to actually go vote after a long day of work, or are just not there. Some checks have already been established within the framework of political scheme such as early voting booths, but this check is not comprehensive since the early balloting booth is such a great distance away from the voter. In addition, many youths do not realize that they can early vote so instead, they just do not vote.
The Federal Government can defeat this large problem by creating a voting website on the Internet. But if this is not a possibility, then the timing of the vote must be altered. Instead of extending the hours of voting, which in the past has not been effective, the Saturday before the regular Tuesday elections the same voting polls should be open. This would enable many of those unable to vote in the regular election a chance to vote in the election. This simple reform will create greater voter turnout because once again, voting is becoming more convenient. The positive impact of increasing political participation among youths is that the Federal Government achieves another staple of Dahl's successful democracy, socializing the political climate. This aspect is necessary for the manifestation of a strong democracy because it creates an education populous. This educated populace will ensure that our American democracy will stay strong, not only in the twenty first century, but the centuries beyond.
Essay themes: recognition of youth as voting population
Politicians across the country focus on November 13, 2000 as the most important date of the upcoming presidential election. They are wrong. November 13, 1982 is. It is the cutoff birth date making millions of young Americans eligible voters. To our country's discredit, most will not show up at the polls, and few of those who do will have been adequately educated on the candidates or their platforms. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren said, "The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is of the essence of a democratic society and any restrictions of that right strike at the heart of representative government." Though few laws may restrict young voters, they are bridled by ignorance. Two things must transpire before Americans my boast of true democracy. Politicians must recognize the youth as a viable voting population, and the youth must become that voting population. A symbiotic relationship must be formed between these groups. At present, young voters are uninformed on candidates, and candidates are unconcerned with them. Our country may try countless gimmicks to draw in voters, but only a mental connection between candidate and voter will have a lasting affect on American politics.
Politicians should look at the events that have shaped our lives during the past 18 years; each day since our birth has been important in determining our values and needs. This generation has seen the effects of the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, and of the USSR. It has seen its fathers and mothers board aircraft headed for the Middle East. This generation is not blind.
But America's youth must come to the realization that it is responsible for using its knowledge of these events. It is responsible for using its power of vote. However, this generation needs to be given a reason to vote. Students' eyes need to be opened to government as a living mechanism, real to them in everyday life. Government classes are attended with boredom because they simply present a list of facts, having little tangible importance. Students need to be made aware of issues that affect them, such as taxes. Many would be impassioned to vote through an understanding that the Revolutionary war cry, "No taxation without representation" is applicable today. All students pay taxes; if they do not vote, then they are unrepresented taxpayers.
As solitary voters, many young Americans feel impotent and ineffective. Few know of the many elections that were won and lost by a single vote. They must be taught of Sydney Nixon, the Vermont State Representative who, in 1977, thought he had won 570 to 569. He later resigned when he found out that Robert Edmund had surpassed him 572 to 571. Rather than winning by one vote, Sydney Nixon lost by one vote.
More recently, in 1997, South Dakota Senator John McIntyre believed himself to be seated by 4,195 to 4,191 on election night. The next day a recount proved his opponent, Hal Wick, to be the winner by 4,192 to 4,191. The Supreme Court declared one of Wick's votes invalid due to an over vote; however, Wick was seated by the state legislature 46 to 20.
Once students have a desire to vote, politicians are accountable for making contact with them. All candidates running for the presidency should be required to visit high schools with the intent of discussing current political issues with the students. These interviews should be aired across the country and viewed in other classrooms by satellite. Countless classroom discussions could be sparked from these interviews. In discussing the issues themselves, students would feel more involved in politics and be more apt to vote. By taking the time to acknowledge students and the issues they face, politicians would be telling students that they matter.
First, politicians must be aware of issues that are important
to the student population, such as computer illiteracy. Thousands
of students leave high school inadequately prepared to function
in the technological world in which they live. They don not
have access to computers at home, and their schools have limited
resources. These students are placed at a great disadvantage
to those who are exposed to the Internet on a daily basis. Others
struggle with the financial aid system, and are frustrated with
the lack of support they and their teachers receive from the
nation. And more importantly, many have a growing fear of instability
in our country. Students are shocked by news of high school
shootings and want to know what will be done about these repeated
Essay themes: Linking financial aid to voter registration;
Increased emphasis on political education and participation
What happened in Dowersville is happening all across the country. As the twenty-first century, begins political participation by America's young people is at an all time low. Studies have shown that six out of ten young people that start smoking before the age of eighteen are still smoking ten years later. In the same manner, those people who are active in politics between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, will remain active later in their life.
There are many possible ways to increase voter participation among this target age group, one such possibility is to link financial aid to voting. American young people that receive education at any level after high school must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA form in order to become eligible for federal or state loans and grants to help pay for their education. Already, the federal government withholds all federal scholarship money from males that have not registered with the Selective Service. The federal government should in the same way link voter registration to a student's eligibility for federal or state, scholarships, loans or grants. The program would work in a similar fashion as the one that ensures males register with the Selective Service. In order to be initially eligible for federal or state money, the student would have to show proof that they have registered to vote. If the student was not yet eligible to register to vote due to age requirements, they must provide proof that they have registered to vote within thirty days of becoming eligible, in order to keep federal or state money.
However, being registered to vote does not always mean that a person will vote responsibly. So an increased emphasis on political education must be established. This can be achieved through many means, such as mandatory political education classes, and promotion of young democrat and republican organizations. The mandatory political education class would teach the history of politics as well as how to choose the candidate that best addresses the issues that are vital to the voter, such as federal aid for education. The Young Democrat and Republican organizations would allow interested people under the age of twenty-five the opportunity to get a first hand look at the world of politics. The members of this organization would volunteer at political campaigns to get a first hand look at the process of running for office. The organizations would also organize debates between themselves, and hold voter registration drives and political town hall meetings, as well as go into the public school systems to increase knowledge of voting at an early age. Participation in these or similar organizations would be encouraged through the offering of scholarships or internships sponsored by local government officials. Increased voter participation among people under the age of twenty-five is vital to people in this age group in many important ways. The issues that are important to people within this age group would be more likely to be addressed if government officials realized that this age group is an important political faction that can not be ignored. Increased voter participation is also important to those within my age group because the decisions that are made when we are in our twenties may well affect us greatly in thirty or forty years, in the cases of Medicare and social security.
Welcome back to Dowersville, it is now two years later and again the morning following elections day. In the two years that Adam Dowager served as a federal representative, he vetoed two major sending bills that would have provide much needed funds to expand Dowerston State College. The results of the election are in and Adam Dowager has been voted out of office and replaced with Joe Stoker. Of the now near one hundred and fifty thousand eligible voters under the age of twenty-five, ninety-five percent are now registered to vote, with ninety-eight percent having successfully completed a political class, and ninety percent involved in a political organization. Of the eligible voters ninety-nine percent voted which accounted for a large block of votes for the incumbent representative. See what a difference time and knowledge can make in politics.
Essay themes: Youth should participate in government
Children develop a rational mind through the ability to gain new observations in their environment. But with the routine procedures passed down from generation to generation, the assumption that current standards are ok no longer allow people to possess the curiosity mentality they had as a child. Participation by young people in all types of things is decreasing as adult maturity increases. This race to grow up has stopped many people from creating, accepting, and denying ideas. All we can think - or not think about is Nike's popular "just do it" attitude. The age of discovery has ended and we are now faced with a new apocalypse, an era where our thoughts may soon be outdated.
In a fast paced world, we as a society have lost the childhood mentality to be curious and instead have moved forward towards a more mechanical way of life participation. The innovative reforms and electoral rules needed can only be successful once young people choose to participate more in politics starting in the classroom and continuing on in real life scenarios.
The two-year-old does not test rules set out for her or else she will face major consequences. Much like the child, our society believes we will be punished if we go against the laws. This mentality has given us lost hope. The fact that we can start to participate in governmental decisions only at the age of 18 proves the assumption that being 18 and being 17 will not really make a difference and thus is irrelevant to start at all. Social discourse states that certain rights are given through certain maturity levels. Although the voting age is under this belief, certain measures should still be taken to prepare the students to enter the true social contract.
Forcing a student versus a student wanting to do something is a very important consideration. Fortunately, many people give hope to young impressionable individuals. Fifth grade students are capable of making decisions with the information they have. Teachers hold mock elections for students to see which candidate is best suited for real- life offices. Surprisingly, most candidates who win are those who win in the actual elections. The microcosm created allows the acceptance that people of all ages are capable to choosing someone to represent the overall opinions of the people. The only difference setting adults and children apart in this world might only be the height. However, since we cannot vote until we are an "adult", we believe participating in government would not make a difference anyway so we continue on that path of unconsciousness. In order to prevent the unconsciousness syndrome from taking too many children, society must continue to educate and acknowledge how important and interesting it is to study the government. Making this part of their routines will make the progression towards democratic ideas easier.
With the young growing population, less participation in government will result in a governmental decision only supported by few. Those who vote may not hold the entire community's interest. The only way to become involved in changing this takeover is to become involved in democracy at an early age. Class elections are a great example of giving students the chance to become involved in a political process. Students may think class elections are based on popularity but will be surprised to know that politics is involved. These individuals have to get votes of all types of people, through politicking, or expressing her ideas to the entire student body. As they grow older, events such as Girls or Boys State and the National Young Leaders Conference allow students to apply what they learned in school to real life scenarios those political figures face every day. At Girls State, we have to politick for offices in state governments while the DC Conference allows us to fulfill the role of presidency so that we do not undermine the importance of running a country. City Council meetings where children become the actual members are perfect for allowing involvement towards governmental decisions while letting junior reporters ask political leaders tough questions ensures that all perspectives are satisfied. The question to increase voter participation should not be reforms in compensation but rather be about making voting worthwhile and fun!
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. In the late sixties, men and women across the United States were caught up in the civil rights movement. A time of strife and turmoil due to prejudice was easing and equality had begun for the first time in hundreds of years. Thousands of people gathered one day for the march on Washington, expressing their views, thoughts, and emotions. They listened to Martin Luther King speak his conscious thoughts in his famous " I have a dream" speech and the dream began. Not only did this help unify our nation, it also made people experience a new sense of being where standing up for what they believed in was no longer considered radical but necessary. This speech may have paved the way for people of all color to begin participation in the government, but perhaps another speech is needed to pave the way for people of all ages to begin participation in the government.
Essay themes: National election holiday; use of the media; and easier access to registration
"Vogue!" Oops, I mean "vote". So how much influence do you think Madonna dressed in red lingerie and wrapped in the US flag singing a modified version of Vogue had on the young voters of America? It's no secret. The young people are just not interested in politics today and the government will go lengths to encourage them to participate. Unfortunately, such bizarre campaigns like that of Madonna just won't do. I suggest a more sensible route, something more in tune with what the young voters of America want. Potential reforms such as a National Election Holiday, the use of media, and easier access to registration are few of the most likely ways to reach out to the younger generations to more political participation. Generally speaking, the US as a whole has the least voter turnout dragging behind Switzerland with less than 50%. Though study shows that other forms of participation has grown, the voter turnout continues to plunge downward. Why is voting the least participated in though it is the least difficult?
I recall pages of petitions I signed my sophomore year alone and even boycotting the cafeteria food because they used styrofoam trays. People dedicate tedious hours to a petition, but despise driving to the nearest voting booth to plop in your vote. It's the process of learning about the candidates that requires a huge deal of initiative. The young people don't know enough to actually choose a candidate. They feel inadequate to the task of deciding among the long list of candidates that appear on the ballot. The media is the answer to our prayers. Although they are highly criticized in their coverage of elections with the photo opportunities and eight -second sound bites of speeches, this is the best way to open conveniences to the younger voters of America as well as providing the information they need. The television networks should give the candidates two to five minute free air time every month until the elections. The government should use it's regulatory powers to enforce this idea. After watching Dawson's Creek or Ally McBeal, the viewers can easily get the key issues from the nominees of each party quick and simple.
A child spends at the least seven hours inside a classroom. And within those hours, they pledge their allegiance to the flag and sing of how it stood proudly by the dawn's early light. By the time they get to high school, forget those morning rituals, it's all about the petition signing and ballots for the next class president. The problem is we don't know the first step on voting on our own. Who knew you had to register to vote in the first place? If schools give each student a registration card a soon as they turn eighteen, more students would vote. It'll give them a sense of loyalty and responsibility. It teaches every individual to do something with the knowledge they learned in school. All the mock trials, and homecoming court nominations, were practices leading up to this big moment. It can't stop here. The schools need to give them a good last push. While the governments in other countries take the responsibility to get all the eligible citizens on the voting list, here, the registration is completely in the individual's hands. Although the Motor Voter Act is available, the younger students might be clueless on what to do with it. Each and every student will meet with at least one advisor in school to discuss plans for their senior year. What a great time to hand them a registration card and get them registered right then and there.
A century ago, politicians used to say "Vote early and often". Often is right. The United States demands more votes than any other country in the world. Whereas most European countries may call all voters to the ballot two to three times in a four year period, the Americans vote in more than a dozen separate elections. The younger generation is just getting accustomed to all the sudden freedom from their captivity. There is absolutely no way they are going to make the effort to learn about each election and drive their clinking old beat up station wagons to the booths just to cast another vote that they probably don't think will even make any impact. With one elected official for every 442 registered voter and elections held approximately every week, the young people are way to busy settling in on their own to worry about who the lucky winner is that might receive their vote.
To try to simplify this hectic political participation schedule, a National Election Holiday would most likely to be appealing in their eyes. A National Election Day will definitely cut down on the mileage to drive to the booths every week. Local, state and national elections can all be held on the same day. It will show patriotism in our country seeing people taking breaks from work and voting. This will build their political bonds and more participation.
It is significant that the young people of America get more involved in the government because we are the next generation to build onto this huge foundation. And it is through our participation that each brick will be laid properly in place. It is important to me that we find a solution because my future goal is to major in political science and learn more about the government. Our political participation will keep the government stable and strong. It cannot lay in the hands of the elite and of the minority in DC. We must all take advantage of this great freedom that the forefathers graciously granted us. They fought a hard fight and we cannot forget the basics of this foundation. Decrease in political participation among younger generations is a growing issue that must be resolved. These are not promises - only keys that might unlock the answer to this long going problem.
Political participation by young people is plummeting, because of a lack of interest in politics. One of the main reasons why young people do not vote is because they believe that the issues do not affect them. Voting is a privilege that we all have as U.S. citizens, but do not take advantage of. Therefore, young people in the age range of 18-25 need to understand why voting is important. It is important to know that one vote makes a difference in who is chosen to represent us in our government. The candidates and the government need to do more to hold their interest in politics. Lowering the voting age is not a good action to take, because the voters need to understand the decisions they are making. The voting age should remain at 18, so that young people will have a better understanding of the issues involved. The government would have more problems on their hands, such as teenagers making decisions that they are not qualified or prepared to make, at an age below 18. Instead, they should try to resolve the participation of voters.
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade should be taught the importance of voting. Teachers can have mock trials at every grade level. Students can dress up as their chosen political candidate. They can campaign, discuss their issues and other students can vote. There should be food and music during the campaign. The entire school should participate; for each election, the campaign activities should occur at least twice each semester. Political candidates should also visit high schools; they should have assemblies where they present their views, and include a question/answer session for the students. Such an activity would give the students the opportunity to hear, in person, the candidate's views, and the opportunity to ask questions about issues they may not fully understand. During this session the political candidate can also be made aware of issues that young people are concerned about. This type of activity would not only get the students' attention, but it would also help the students to understand that young people are an important part of the political process.
Another good technique or strategy that can be used to reach young people, would be to have interviews or talk shows that discuss topics that young people are concerned about. The television and the radio have most of the attention of young people. If issues were discussed during a radio talk show that is popular with young people, they would listen. Internet voting should also be highly considered as a strategy for increasing political participation, not just for young people, but for the nation as a whole. Some people do not vote because they do not have the transportation to reach the voting poles; voting on the computer would solve this conflict. Today most young people have a computer available to them either at home or at school, and they use it constantly for different tasks. Voting on the Internet would make it easier and also more interesting. The Internet is fascinating to young people; if voting is advertised on a large number of web sites, including the most frequently used search engines, everyone using a computer would be aware of current elections and the candidates political issues.
One reason why elections do not keep the attention of young people is because of the long span of time for which they are held. Most young people are bored with an issue easily and need change. Changing the length of an election is an unnecessary drastic change. If candidates concentrated on campaigning to young people for the last two months before voting day, instead of for a whole year, the chances of them actually voting would be greater. Young people do not always concentrate on important issues in our government, nor do they always think about how they should actively participate in government. With this in mind Politicians should discuss and include issues that concern young, and also show young people how the issues can affect their future, their parents, and/or their grandparents. Young people need to see how the issues will affect their lives. Young people are the future of our country and they must understand the importance of voting at an early age, and reminded of their responsibility to themselves and their country at every grade level, and in college. Voting booths can also be set up in high schools, colleges, and universities. This strategy would make voting more convenient for young people in school with extremely busy schedules. In addition, this strategy or technique would once again, demonstrate to young people how important their vote is in the political process.
These innovative strategies can help young people to understand politics and the importance of voting. After all, young people and their opinions are very important, because young people are the future of America.
Essay themes: Internet voting, advertising directed at young
Many would largely prefer Internet voting. It would be faster and convenient. It would cut out the lines and the hassle of current voting methods. It would allow more people access to the process in a method that is far more natural to their mode of living. Internet voting would involve several security issues. The process would have to be developed with painstaking care and made as foolproof as possible. Security features would have to be designed and tested to keep the possibility of increased fraud at a minimum. With Internet voting, the more widespread participation would outweigh the effects of fraud. Young people are often known for their procrastination. Registering to vote will be postponed several times before it is finally too late and then completely forgotten. If people eligible to vote could register on the Election Day, it may give a chance to those who desire to be a part of the process but missed deadlines. Large databases would have to be developed to have immediate checking of information with several security checks.
People my age are highly influenced by the celebrity figures and role models. Every soft drink and designer jeans company knows that selling a product often takes more band-wagoning than rationalization. Young adults do not vote because they do not see how directly it affects them. They do not realize that their voices are being lost, and reasoning with a young adult is often simply a lofty ideal. Instead of trying to target young adults throughout the grueling several months of campaigning and debating, hit them in the last leg of an election. Recognize the short attention span of teenagers and cater to it. Pay for airtime during new Friends and Mad about You episodes. Have Michael Jordan tell the young adults that he is a committed voter and Brittany Spears sum up the views of the major candidates that affect young adults.
In our recent history, young people have demanded the right to vote and swarmed to the polls on Election Day. This was because their very lives were at stake. Now, it is impractical to threaten a draft just to get a larger turnout. But even in peacetime, voter participation is critical to the continuation of a democratic system. Governments do not just fund wars; they influence everyday life. Young adults must be encouraged and get into the habit of voting if democracy is to survive.
Essay themes: Learning from Eleanor Roosevelt; candidates making their campaigns more specific and representative of their views in order to attract young people
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Politics can be a dirty business when it operates on a low level. It can also be a profoundly stimulating business, when the appeal is to the best in human nature. It is, like all areas of human activity and experience, what we choose to make of it. I admire Eleanor Roosevelt's audacity and courage. Fighting for the rights of women and blacks, she voiced her ideologies without apprehension, risking ridicule and failure. Most of all I admire the ambition and ceaseless motivation to act that Eleanor possessed. It is the infinite energy she seemed to maintain and the intrepid personality that she acted upon that inspires me to execute my own ideas. Inspiration and enthusiasm are voter reactions for which any politician should aim.
In today's society, politicians often withhold their true ideologies in place of broader generalizations while campaigning with topics obviously beneficial and universally popular, i.e., lower taxes and increased job opportunities. The problem with this sort of crusade is that it represses the true personality of the orator and creates no bond with the public. Politicians desire to appeal to as many people as possible, which dilutes any personality or individuality in a candidate. In the case of young adults, politicians appear distant and uninterested in issues pertaining to them. In 1960, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, You Learn by Living, "Until one sees with one's own eyes and comes to feel with one's own heart, one will never understand other people" Sooner or later, you are bound to discover that you cannot please all of the people around you all the time. Politicians lose young voters with their vague responses and lack of certainty on subjects. Without addressing particular issues, a politician can never attract the already busy student. A politician is more likely to appeal to a younger audience with ideas on abortion, gay rights, criminal punishments for drugs, and education, rather than discussing the national debt. Social Security plans to cut tuition prices or increasing teachers' wages would draw students to the polls, in addition to propositions for programs aiding alcoholics or drug addicts. The brave politician may even advocate altering marriage laws for gays and lesbians. These subjects impact the student and these youths would be more willing to defend their beliefs through participation in elections, if the issues pertained to them directly. Students rarely pay income tax and hardly ever see the immediate effects of Medicare, but students would appreciate a tax break off student loans.
In January, the Seton Hall dormitory in South Orange, New Jersey caught on fire and three people were killed. It is postulated that some disgruntled students had committed arson in reaction to a confrontation with the R.A. As more and more devastating crimes like this are committed by youths, a politician should address this kind of issue and propose a plan that would help decrease campus crime. What punishment does the campaigner support? Is he against the death penalty, and what are his views on minor offenders with adult punishments? Severe punishments for rapists, protection against rape, or shelters for rape victims, might inspire more young women to arrive at the polls. It is true that these views are a risk for the candidacy, but at the same time it defines the character of the politician. With this same idea in mind of relevant issues, Eleanor Roosevelt described women, "There is no doubt in my mind that women work differently than men, and they will put a different emphasis on certain issues." If women really understand the issues they will probably talk more effectively to their neighbors than any of the men, especially if the issues are such that they affect their daily lives.
Traveling directly to the campuses of schools would give rise to an increased attendance of students at political discussions as well as create a personal approach to campaigning. To augment the involvement of students in polls, it would be efficient and logical to bring the campaign to them. This ensures the message will be heard and would add to the assemblage. Holding the national debates between presidential candidates at colleges may motivate the students to become more actively involved and interested voters. In addition, advertising for volunteers of young students to work on the campaign would ensure a lobby that would appeal to that age group.
The rising generations have grown up with the Internet and other technologies that enable campaigns to be nationalized. With broadcasts not only over radio but on the World Wide Web, debates and expressed ideas by the candidates could be updated daily. Moreover, making voting possible through the Internet would increase participation. It is important that campaigns be seen in magazines, radio stations, or web sites popular to youths; for example, bulletins on the views of gun control in America belong in college newsletters and ideas for programs protecting artists' rights to free speech should be published in music and art magazines.
Concerning enterprise, Eleanor Roosevelt said, "in the long run there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determines one's position, state it bravely, and then act boldly. A politician must determine his views and consistently support them. Without this consistency in opinion or conviction in ideologies, a candidate becomes distant from the people he desires to represent. It is more important to attract new voters through radical ideas than to lose a majority of constituents due to vague stances. As soon as a politician declares he is pro-life or a gay- supporter, more students who relate to these issues will vote for their choice candidate. Until a politician makes an effort to personalize his campaigns and to appeal to students in addition to the working class and senior citizens, he will not attract younger generations to the polls.
Essay themes: Debates between all candidates; media outreach about candidates; increased early political education programs
What is the first thing a teenager does when they turn 18? Many go club hopping or buy a pack of cigarettes for the first time. Even if we do not smoke, we buy them just because it is legal. But, we certainly do not go out and vote, and it is just as legal! I do not think I have even heard a teenager utter that very v-word. It is not in many people's vocabulary. But I have reached a conclusion. Voting and participation among youth politically is dangerously low. And something needs to be done about it. What could possibly be holding these youths back? Why are they not running to the voting booths and filling out those cards in a wild frenzy? We simply are not aware. We do not know the candidates. We do not know how much voting today affects our tomorrow. Some of us do not even know how to become a registered voter.
One way to inform young people of voting and to encourage it is by having more debates between the candidates. This means all possible candidates, not just half of them. Candidate's views and debates need to be broadcasted on other programs besides the news. The youth of today watch a lot of television and a listen to a lot of radio, so it is not hard to miss them. Candidates could inform youth by appearing on music television stations and doing interviews with radio stations in major cities. This way, a young person is sure to catch a candidate somewhere, even if it is only for a few minutes. These few minutes can make an extreme difference: from knowing absolutely nothing about a candidate to knowing their beliefs, values and what they will do for our country or city. These broadcasts could possibly get a young person interested in a candidate, which will then encourage them to vote for that candidate. Young people that see these candidates on a program that relates to them could help them to relate to the candidate.
Another possible way to inform young people of candidates and to get them into those voting booths is to hold Internet voting. Internet voting would be easily accessible, convenient and time saving. With the advertising for Internet voting geared at the youth, young people would most likely give voting a chance. Advertising on sites that young people often visit would attract them to the Internet voting site. Bios of the candidates as well as their goals and what they stand for could be posted to this Internet voting site. Candidates could possibly hold an Internet debate or hold a chat where people could just log on and get involved by asking the candidates questions. Youth and adults are all just so busy these days. Young people have more homework and spend a great amount of time socializing and worrying about what college they are going to go to and who they are going to date next. Internet voting would not just make voting easier on young people, but also for existing voters. I believe that quick Internet voting would raise voter participation for all ages.
Voting participation is not the only aspect among youth that needs to be increased. Young people need to also become more involved politically, starting at an early age. This means that the schools need to get the students informed about politics. Most youths do not know a single thing about government or politics until their senior year in high school, when there is a required course in government. This is when I became informed. If students are taught in elementary or middle school they may develop more of an interest in politics. A required class is the way to go, but it would be more effective in a middle school or an elementary school. Informed students mean informed adults later on. Schools could hold field trips to political institutions such as their city hall or their state capital, if it is near. My school has Government Day every year. This gives seniors a chance to see how a government works. We were able to play roles in the government as well and learned that everyone plays a role in government whether they realize it or not. But our country's youth needs to know how to play a productive and fulfilling role. Young people need to be informed. They need to be aware of what goes on in the world.
Everyone needs to vote, not just our nation's youth. It is our right and we need to take advantage of that right. I believe that more televised debates between candidates, Internet voting and our school's efforts could significantly raise voter and political participation among youth. Everyone just needs to put in a little time and effort to make sure our future leaders get off to the right start.
Essay themes: Lowered voting age; Internet voting
Young people in America need to be involved in voting because the people elected today enact the laws for tomorrow. This America of tomorrow is the one, which these young people will inhabit; therefore if they wish to have a voice in their future they must exercise their right to vote today.
The statistics show that political participation by young people in this country is plummeting. The voting age is currently 18. Eighteen is also the age that young people can legally buy lottery tickets, get into dance clubs, and are old enough to move out of the house. With this going on in these young people's lives, being able to vote is the last thing on their minds.
I have a simple solution to this problem that would not only raise the number of young voters in this country but also increase the quality of politicians. My proposition is to lower the legal voting age to 16 years of age. Unlike an eighteen-year-old, the only major thing going on the life of a sixteen-year-old is getting his/her drivers license. To insure responsible voting by these young people, an Election Knowledge class should be required in the first semester of sophomore year. This class would educate these soon-to-be voters in how to read through the candidates political tactics. They would be well informed in the matters of the government and of the economy. Knowledge of the how the political process of the government works would enable young voters to choose to vote for better candidates. They would be able to make responsible decisions on who would be the best person to put in a certain political office.
One year and one class at a time, our country would come to be a politically aware society. Political candidates would have to be more genuine in their campaigning. If this proposition were passed as a law in the year 2000, it would make a big difference in the presidential race in the year 2004. America would not see any panty-wasted politicians with no backbones. The new era of politicians would have to stand up for the justice and the right of the people of this country-The job which they were elected to do.
Internet voting would be an excellent follow-up to lowering the voting age. Most young people go to college after high school. In order to participate, voters have to journey back to their precinct. This makes voting extremely difficult. If Internet voting were available, then more young people would be able to exercise their vote and there would be no problem. Most college students live away from home and, therefore, are not able to make the trip back to their precinct in order to vote on Election Day. Many students are denied the vote just because they can't make the 500 mile trip back home! When I go off to college, I will be three hours away from my home and my voting precinct. It will be impossible for me to go to classes all day, make the three hour trip home to vote, and then go all the way back to college so I can make it to classes the next day. Many people will question the security measures of Internet voting. When people are sent their voter registration cards, they will include that persons social security number, their precinct number, as well as their voter registration number. In order to vote on the Internet, I would go to the web site and type in the number of my precinct. Then I would type in my name. A box would pop up that I would type my social security number in. My precinct would have my name and social security number typed into their system. Once I type in my social security number, it would activate the system and up would pop the ballot. When a recount is necessary, the counters have to throw out the votes that do not count. That would still be possible even in the use of Internet voting. When I vote for president or any office, the person's name that I voted for will pop up beside my name in the database. This way, when the counters find a person that is an ineligible voter, they would know from whose side to deduct a vote. After the voting is complete and the recount is done and the whole process is finished, the contents of the web site will be deleted. This is also a security precaution. Politicians will not be able to figure out who voted for or against them. The information won't be there to find. The Internet voting system seems pretty logical. Not only will it help young people, but all people in general. The many Americans who work long hours or can't make it by the polls for various reasons can just log on the Internet and still exercise their voting right. The Internet voting system is practical, safe, and effective.
Essay themes: Internet voting; national voter card
There are many changes that can make the electoral system more popular among young people. Computers should be the main factor in these changes, as well as the Internet, since they are so widely used by the younger generation. Voting ID cards will also simplify the voting process and make it more attractive to young people. When teens do start to vote, these improvements will make them want to participate in the electoral process. In the 21st century, computers are going to play a vital role in everyday life. Therefore, they should also become the basis of voting's future.
Using computers to cast your ballot instead of the traditional voting machines and paper ballots will provide many advantages to both the voters and the politicians. Computers will make it much easier and faster for citizens to cast their votes while at the voting centers. After they sign in, voters can just click on whichever candidate they prefer and push the submit button. The page should automatically refresh, eliminating the need for a worker to reset a machine and increasing security. How much simpler could it get? It would be pretty much the same as using a voting machine with one huge advantage, a quicker tallying of votes.
Take the presidential election for example, with networked computers and the Internet, each person's vote can be sent directly to the party's national headquarters. Instead of having to tally the votes from each district and sending them to the state's central headquarters for each party, adding them all up for each district and then having to call them into the national headquarters, where each state has to be added to all of the other states' totals. This takes a very long time and can result in addition errors. Sending each vote to the national headquarters will eliminate any chance of errors and cause the nation's new President to be announced much sooner. Just think of how quickly the local officials can be elected.
Another way to promote youth participation in voting is to make it possible to vote from home. Each party can have it's own secure website where voters have to provide proof of registration and proof of identity before they can vote for their preferred candidate. The only possible problem is security, people can fake their identities or pretend to be someone else. Proper measures will have to be taken against this. Under at-home voting, people can just quickly vote from work or home instead of having to take time out of their busy day to stand in line forever just to vote. This would also ease congestion for the people who do have to go to voting centers. It would also send the vote directly to the party's national headquarters, quickening the tallying time.
In addition, the creation of a national voting card, like the one that Mexico has, would be very beneficial. It could have many security measures such as a picture, the voter's Social Security and driver's license numbers. It could also have a bar code or a computer strip for easy identification. It would be very similar to a driver's license and would cause voting to be even easier. After a citizen registers for the first time, they will get a card that has all of your information on it, and you won't have to register again unless you move, revalidate, or update your card. Also, instead of having to sign in each time you vote, you can just swipe your card in a little machine and it records that you have voted. If you want to vote online from home, you can just enter your number and move on to the voting page. This card will make voting easier, faster, and more modern, making the next generation more likely to take the time out of their busy days to vote.
An increase in voters of my age should cause a greater voice from the younger generation. If the younger people start to speak out through their votes, the nation will soon know exactly what it is that we want. It would be similar to a lobbyist forcing politicians to initiate bills in the youth's favor. Hopefully, if they know that, the politicians will start to move policy their way. This will enable the new generation to change the country into the kind of place that we want it to be.
Now that we are able to vote, we can finally make a difference in this world. Young people can be influenced to vote if it is just made easier and faster for them to cast their ballots. I feel that computers may very well do just that, in combination with a voting card. If they do begin to make themselves heard, they can improve the quality of their lives and make a real difference.
As children, we were taught that George couldn't lie about chopping down a cherry tree and 'Honest Abe' feed the slaves. We weren't around for Teddy and his 'Rough Riders' or Kennedy's Camelot, however apparently they were days filled with optimism and pride in our country. Unfortunately for our generation, most of the political heroes of the 20th Century are now only chapters in history books and "I remember stories......" courtesy of our parents and grandparents.
Our political memory banks are filled with images of a president better known for his clumsiness than his foreign policy, a vice president who couldn't spell a common vegetable and commander-in-chief who neither served in the military nor could recollect having 'sexual relations with Monica Lewinski.' Our political heroes are shallow images of their forefathers who either can't spell integrity and honor, or don't practice them.
You challenge us to become more politically involved, to propose changes in the electoral process that will persuade us to flex our political clout. I challenge you to give us intelligent reasons why we would want to. At one time, politics was a time-honored and revered profession that allowed honest, hard-working and respected individuals the opportunity to represent their communities, states nd ultimately their country.
Granted, CNN didn't provide 24-hour coverage of George Washington's campaign trail and Larry King wasn't around to grill Abraham Lincoln about his alleged fondness for mint juleps, but their were still ethical barriers that weren't to be crossed. There was an unwritten standard that had to be surpassed before an individual could achieve success and respectability, or at the very least, credibility, in politics. Sometime, during the past few hundred years, politics transitioned to the media-frenzied circus that encompasses our country today. Today's high-profile politicians are activists, actors, athletes, tycoons and religious figure-heads -- individuals who cannot stand the thought of being out of the public mind and view. Personally, I would love to turn on the television and see Jesse Ventura, Warren Beatty and Donald Trump engaging in verbal battle over America's role in Bosnia or the Middle East. However, as a responsible, voting adult, I would not want an overrated actor, a former professional wrestler adorned in feather boas and bangles or a globetrotting playboy running our country.
We are viewed as the MTV generation. Slackers with no initiative or goals. However, believe it or not, we don't have radio waves for brain matter and Gameboys are not surgically attached on our hands. Why would anyone, young or old, want to become more politically involved? Government by and for the people depends on the size of the people's bank accounts. Issues are skipped like rocks across a pond. How many more Columbine High School tragedies have to happen before stricter gun laws are enforced....on the streets, not in the local sports stores? How many more teenage pregnancies and abortions have to occur before sexual education becomes more than a few chapters in a ninth-grade health book?
The future of our country, albeit unknown, is on shaky ground and imploring young people to 'Rock the Vote' will not change that. We will not be martyrs for decency when the issues being attacked are 'Who smoked or snorted what....' and 'Who slept with whom....'
You asked for solutions --- what changes in the current process would get us more involved. I may not have the solutions, but I do have some ideas.
o Congress needs to set campaign funding limits. I'm not proposing this to simply prevent the rich from getting richer, but more to try and level the playing field. Politics should be more about effective representation than zeros in a bank account. We're not all going to be successful actors, doctors and lawyers who can smile while charging $500 a plate for a $5 meal at a rally. I'd even suggest employing campaign 'police' if necessary, but don't let the 'Fortunate Few' continue to govern the 'Less-Fortunate Many.'
o Abolish age limitations for voting and seeking office. Who cares if a 15-year-old wants to run for congress or cast a vote for his city mayor? We're waiting too late to educate our young about the political process. We should encourage participation while they are young before the pressures of puberty make it 'uncool' to care. People may laugh and ridicule this proposal, however let me assure you that age and experience do not necessarily guarantee common sense.....just look to the White House for a prime example.
Apathy is rampant in our country, not just with my generation,
but everywhere. We've run out of Eisenhowers and Roosevelts,
and we're not a country that bodes well without our heroes.
Yet, somehow we've survived, even thrived, because we were founded
on success through adversity. Throughout history people have
emerged from the shadows to lead -- common individuals filled
with uncommon valor and patriotism. That's part of the excitement
we face in the 21st Century -- not necessarily who will step
forward to lead, but more importantly, who will we follow?