Why Don’t Young People Vote?
I vote because the rest of my age group doesn’t.
It sucks to care about the proverbial “issues” when everyone else I know is too busy texting to be bothered to vote. My chances of getting the TV remote for a Presidential Address, when Jersey Shore is on, are slim to none.
In a way, I understand. In general, politics are pretty boring. I mean, I could spend my Friday night listening to some wordy politician talk about how his city needs more funding to install flat screen TVs in all of its restrooms and how this expenditure would supposedly “Put the Unity back in CommUnity.” But really, I’ve simply got better things to do.
But then, I think about how the political policies being put into effect (or when it comes to clean energy legislation, the policies not being put into effect) are going to affect MY future and MY planet. And this is enough motivation for me. But for the rest of my age group, for the rest of the 18 to 24-year-old Americans out there who can vote but don’t, I have just one question: Why?
It’s because we aren’t targeted. All the time on the news you hear about politicians rallying for the Woman’s vote, or the Minority vote, or the Green vote, and so on and so forth. It’s almost as if politicians are trying to avoid confronting the youth vote.
Granted, we’re somewhat difficult to wrestle in. We’re obsessed with cool, and it’s pretty hard to get us to care about anything else. Attempts make voting cool and bring out young voters, like “Rock the Vote” for example, failed miserably. We’re disconnected from politics. With over 60% of campaign television advertising being directed at people over 50 and only around 14 percent being directed at 18 to 24-year-olds, it’s no wonder.
We’re the age group surveyed to be the most hopeful for the future. We’re hopeful for a government that will make the right choices, but we don’t trust them to do so. Understandably so, given a political climate so similar to a soap opera. Given the Eliot Spitzer scandal with the most expensive hookers I’ve ever heard of to John Edwards having an affair with Rielle Hunter, with his cancer-stricken wife at home, America’s youth is more likely to equate politics with a telenovela than with an instrument for change.
All these factors make getting us to vote hard, but rather than give up, try harder. At this identity-seeking age, we’re ready to learn and be given the facts to decide which candidate, or which policy, is right for us.
Photo credit: nfontes via flickr