In this blog post we will follow the thoughts and intrinsic reflections of a young adult on the topic of voting. We will keep their name anonymous, but we think this is important for future generations to hear. Voting is privilege and a right. Voting is the voice of society, if you do not vote no one will hear.
Marilyn Monroe once said, “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” Generation (Y) has always had the characteristic of being politically naïve and as Wattenberg illustrates, “ [lacking] a basic grasp of what is going on in the political world” (Wattenberg 55). Being young means finding oneself internally. During this time of transformation we may be out of control and have a lack of knowledge to the world we live in, but once we have responsibilities the world we see changes, as do our political interests. We tend to ask ourselves the wrong question when it comes to politics. We can answer the question of why we don’t vote, such as the government’s lack of transparency, or that we feel like nothing will change even if we do vote. Whereas when we ask ourselves the question of why we shouldn’t vote our confident tone of voice starts to waver. One of the reasons our ancestors fought the revolutionary war was to abolish taxation without representation. As a society our representation is our right to vote. How else is the government supposed to hear our voice if we don’t vote? Voting is our voice; it is the best way we have to enable them to listen.
In the upcoming presidential election of 2012 I do plan to vote and also file for an absentee ballot. As a young voter I do not see voting as a “Civic Duty” (Wattenberg 117), but as a right. One of the most important reasons for the Revolutionary War was because of taxation without representation. Our predecessors fought for “our right” (Wattenberg 119), to be represented. Metaphorically speaking, voting is a form of representation. It is the tool in which the voting papules make themselves heard. Voting is one of the most important rights we have as a citizen. Even if it appears that our say has no effect on the outcomes of governmental decisions, without voting our voices will never be heard and we’ve given up the opportunity to try and change political thought.
Furthermore, Wattenberg talks about civic responsibility, I’ve always been taught that we cannot complain about what happens to us if we do not use our voice heard by casting a vote. Mr. Wattenberg talks about the lack of knowledge by the new papules of voters. As a generation we may have a lack of knowledge, only because we have chosen not to educate ourselves on the people running for political office. I believe that most of the people of my generation choose not to vote because something or someone contradicts my aspirations. Wattenberg also conveys that time commitment is a reason for the younger papules lack of voting. Personally, it didn’t take me that long to get myself educated reasonably educated on candidates political views. Consequently, I feel that the time taken to educate myself on the politicians and their political platforms should not a major reason for the failure to vote. I feel as it was time well spent.
It is said that the younger generation does not vote because there is a lack of attractive choices. That is because we are sometimes put off by their childish political behavior, for example the 2012 Presidential debates. We have to remember that these are competitive people by nature and they are in a competitive situation. So not voting because of those reasons is ignorant.
Because I’m a young person and I live in a young persons world I suppose that all of this evidence that Wattenberg has collected does pertain to me, but I have tried to educate myself on the American Political System and the candidates involved. I also tried to use a little bit of all the media outlets that I could to get a more comprehensive and unbiased feeling for the candidates and their policies. I believe that in my case this does not describe my personal attitude on the political system. Wattenberg’s evidence about news consumption, media habits, and technology has not changed my outlook on the American Political System (Wattenberg 54-82). The reasons that these do not affect my overall attitude are because I view voting as my “Civic Duty” (Wattenberg 117), and a fundamental “Right” (Wattenberg 119).
Overall, I do believe Wattenberg’s hypothesis of why young people do not vote is correct. My peers see voting as a waste of time, and believe their voice wont be heard. They also don’t vote because of lack of knowledge, relevance of issues, and apathy. In so many words, does it shape the way we think about politics? Does it shape the reason we may or may not vote? ABSOLUTELY. If we did not have political information what would we be voting on as a society? Political information is fundamentally the only thing we are voting on, it is the basis for what we base our views and beliefs on.