Politically inactive no more

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By Sai’da Green

By Sai’da Green

I always hear my instructors talking about how young people, especially those between the ages of 18-25, typical college students, aren’t politically active.

They say we students don’t really care about politics and who runs our country.

But it isn’t that our age group just has an apathetic attitude about politics, it’s more complex than that.

There are many reasons why 18 to 25-year-olds appear to be apathetic when it comes to voting.

One of the reasons is that we’re just too busy. Most of us are in college and have many demanding classes.

There are research papers to write, midterms and finals to study for, and endless assignments to complete.

On top of all that, most students work either part-time or full-time jobs.

So the two most important things in our lives right now, besides staying sane, are getting through college with a decent GPA, and finding the money needed to pay for the classes we’re taking.

Some students even have their own families and the responsibilities that come along with that.

So being politically active hasn’t been a top priority. Here at RCC we have wonderful political science instructors whose coursework sparks many students’ interest in politics and how our country is run.

As a result, most of the students that take their classes actually want to get involved in the democratic process of voting, but we have just been too busy.

Another reason is, like many other American citizens, they feel like their vote doesn’t matter.

And usually when you do choose to vote for a candidate, the choices aren’t very diverse.

The mainstream media outlets usually only showcase candidates from two parties, the Republican and Democratic party.

I’m sure not everyone in America is a member of only these two parties.

The majority of politicians that run for office, whether for the U.S. president or for state governor, are old, white, upper class conservative males that seem to be disconnected and unconcerned with the majority of the people that they’re going to be representing.

Most have been rich their whole lives. And either they are unaware of the problems the majority of American citizens, who are struggling to stay above the poverty line face, or they just don’t care enough to do something about it.

And it’s even worse for 18 to 25-year-olds.

We wonder who will represent us and address the issues we face as young Americans. Are they listening? Are they aware? Or have we just been forgotten?

We students aren’t simply apathetic; we’re more disenchanted with our nation’s political leaders. So why vote? It won’t make a difference.

It won’t make a difference because issues that are important to us still won’t be addressed.

We do care. We aren’t apathetic.

We care about the steady increase of college tuition fees, the shrinking number of classes, and financial aid that are available for those who need it.

We care about higher student-teacher ratios.

We care about budget cuts to state funded education.

We care about how the admissions processes for four-year institutions are becoming even more selective than ever before.

We care about the rising gas prices. Most RCC students commute, and that drive to school everyday is becoming more and more expensive.

We care about rising food prices, we have to eat.

Another problem is the media. We can’t really trust their version of things, especially when it comes to politics.

Instead of being a watchdog over our nation’s leaders, most media outlets have become their lapdogs.

Stations like Fox News channel appear to be a mouthpiece for the Republican Party and the Bush administration, giving us a very unfair and not so balanced tilt on the stories and events that they cover.

As a result, we can’t really trust the biased information they give.

Not to mention that most of our country’s mainstream media is owned by one guy, Rupert Murdoch.

And for those that do attempt to be politically active and vote, many people can’t even understand the terminology on the ballot.

One of my psychology instructors said that true intelligence is having the ability to make the complex, simple.

We see commercials for and against propositions, and the more we watch and read about the props, the more confused we become.

If the propositions are going to affect the average American citizen, is it too much to ask that they be written clearly so that the average American citizen can understand them?

The confusing language isn’t neccessary. Just get to the point.

Some people may think that 18 to 25-year-olds are apathetic, and in the past, that has been the case.

Well, at least it has been until the recent presidential primaries.

It’s as if the light bulb has been turned on and young people are becoming more and more politically active, especially college students, and especially those students that are in favor of either Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton.

This is true even at RCC.

Most students are up to date on how the race is going, and have a very strong opinion and a lot to say about who they want to win.

This time around, we’re conscious and full of the hope that maybe, just maybe, this time around we can get one of the good guys in office.

One who will remain loyal to all the people he or she is supposed to be serving, not just the big corporations that financed their campaigns.

If young people age 18-25 have been apathetic about politics and voting in the past, that’s a failure of the political leaders that are supposed to serve and represent all American citizens.

It’s just lazy to just throw up your hands in despair if a certain group of people appear to be apathetic, and say oh well, sucks for them.

That’s not the right attitude to have, especially for a leader.

They need to find out why that age group does not care, and figure out a way to reach out and connect with them.

They should also try to fix the problem.

Just like here at RCC.

Our Student Senate can’t just throw up their hands in despair or turn a blind eye to the fact that students seem uninterested with voting and events that they sponsor.

They need to find out why, and try to fix the problem.

Of course it’s difficult, but they need to try harder because they signed up for the job.

It’s a tough one, no doubt, but the responsibility is still theirs.

Not only that, but they owe it to the students that they’re representing.

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