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So What If We Can’t Vote? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


F ar too many young adults in our nation believe politics is something that teens shouldn't be concerned about. However, politics shapes almost every decision we make. It impacts our surroundings and livelihood, and can determine what resources we have. Teenagers' arrogance and incompetence regarding politics is a national problem of epic proportions.

On the day of the last presidential election, arguably one of the most intriguing political events that year, I followed the race closely, and in doing so I came across another teen talking about the election in a negative way. She was very open about her disregard for politics and was basically telling everyone on Facebook to “shut up about the election” and “Who even cares?” Even worse, her posts were well received. She had others agreeing with her and patting her on the back for speaking out. This attitude makes teens look ignorant. Though it may seem that politics does not affect us now, the issues being debated today will greatly impact our lives as adults.

In addition, there are many laws that directly impact young people, for example, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which protects minors in the workplace. This law ­enforces minimum ages and hour ­regulations, which will be important to teens once they start working. ­Another example is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. I wonder how many kids would have liked to be involved in writing that one!

For those of you under the age of 18 who think just because you aren't old enough to vote there is no way to participate in politics, you're wrong! Politics is everywhere and we should all have the knowledge to be able to be part of it.

Sadly, our generation is notorious for being politically vacuous. According to National Geographic, 63 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate Iraq on a map, despite it being in the news almost every day since the war began in 2003. A Newsweek article cited a survey of 1,000 Americans, in which 29 percent couldn't even name the vice president. “This country's future is imperiled by our ignorance,” Andrew Romano of The Daily Beast wisely stated upon hearing the results of the survey.

Younger Americans need to educate ourselves and be more informed about the politics of the world. Being informed will help us be future deciders in world politics. Learning more about issues and being informed will improve our country's international reputation and help us gain more respect from foreign nations, which when coming into a whole new world of adulthood, is greatly needed.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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