Grandparents all over today are constantly stating, "kids today don't believe in anything." They can rail on for days about how my generation is composed of horrible citizens who aren't involved in the fate of the nation. To some degree, they are right.
Many of my peers are sorely remedial when it comes to one of the most important rights and responsibilities of citizens: being an informed and active voter. I am constantly made aware of young voters voting for the "best-looking" candidate or who has the "cutest name". And the thing is, I believe we really do care, our generation, we really do. It's just that we got a Wii for Christmas and we absolutely have to beat "Super Mario Galaxy" before we do anything else. We have all the time in the world to make an educated vote on HotorNot.com, but lack the time to research the candidates. The problem is we live life as if in an all-you-can-eat buffet of distraction.
I'm not saying everyone should be a political aficionado who obsessively wakes up for "Meet the Press." But I've noticed a frightening number of young people who don't know what they believe in, or worse, blindly affiliate with a certain candidate or let one issue control their civic decision-making process. Youths rant about how government doesn't care about them, but it's precisely because we don't actively participate in the voting process. Who dotes to a voting group that represents on Election Day with a whopping 18 percent turnout?
As for those youth who just vote the way their parents vote or let a single issue dictate, they're downright dangerous. Often without realizing, they throw officials into office, only to realize they are diametrically opposed to that candidate's views in all areas except a few that they fervently support.
Youth believe their votes don't make a difference, and if their parents don't vote, they likely view voting as a waste of time. The right to vote must be exercised. Students of a university cannot complain of high tuition costs if they are not paying attention to propositions on the ballots and political candidates that may have an effect on the matter.
Of course, another problem with the arrival of a new year is the constant influx of people turning 18 who have never registered to vote. Can we keep it up? What is political involvement to a youth these days? Back in our grandparents' generation, being "political" meant you had to go to a rally or a protest, or join a union. Today's youth has a whole new definition, they view being political as wearing a wristband, signing an online petition, writing an email or letter advocating a position or even more by contributing to a political blog.
This election year, those that fall in the apathetic category must vow to reverse the cultivation of an apathetic culture. In a time with so much at stake with respect to politics and policy, watching "Rock the Vote" on MTV is simply not enough.