Our Responsibility

June 29, 2016
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The name Kim Kardashian probably flashes an instant image of a notorious face at you, while the two words Paul Ryan leaves your brain void of a picture. I don’t blame you. Most young people focus much more on the fascinating, gossipy world of pop culture than current politics. Sure, the constant stream of break-ups and plastic surgery rumours sound ten times more appealing than the sloth paced actions in Congress. But taking a moment, why is there a overwhelmingly high level of discontent about the current government, laws, and presidential candidates? Can we really blame all the mistakes on poor leadership skills of bureaucrats? Didn’t we allow their decisions to be executed? So as a fellow member of your generation, I suggest we immerse ourselves a bit into the political world. In order not to suffer from hardships of rebellion and revolution later on in life, I would rather keep an eye on current leaders. As much as we like scrutinizing Taylor’s latest boyfriend, let’s give some attention to the group of guys sitting in D.C with the power to affect our daily lives. Political efficacy prevents us from legal troubles and allows us to take a role in the political world and achieve a better life.

Bad news for friends in Nashville. It is actually illegal for students to hold hands in any shape or form at school due to the Gateway Sexuality Bill passed in Tennessee. Yes, those congressmen can impact us straightforwardly. Power holders in all fifty states have passed legislation directed towards minors. Take bullying laws for example, the rising numbers of violence and deaths in teens often stemmed from electronic harrasment. Lawmakers had to take action and now cyberbullying could be a criminal offence, forever scarring one’s records regardless of their age. Since our actions may lead to consequences undifferentiated from those of legal adults, why don’t we pay attention to what types of laws are passed? If someone ever tags you in “The ugliest people on Instagram,” as a joke, let them know actions like these could decrease their hopes for getting into college or finding a decent job forever. I never really thought the political world would cause much of a difference in my life, but evidently, many laws passed by politicians affects you and me. Understanding our government isn’t about being knowledgeable or sophisticated. Knowing our laws can simply prevent a legal scar caused by idiotic mistakes.

A still half-frozen, packaged, and one year expired burrito was served to my friend in a public school a while ago. Thinking back, we only complained about “prison meals” in public schools, but never advocated for change. The political world seemed so distant and foreign to me back then. But as teenagers, we are a part of the government’s agenda, and if we want change, it can happen. While many of us aren’t of age to petition the state government, but we are still citizens of United States and we are entitled to the freedom of speech. Back then, my friends and I could have used that right and contacted our state civil liberties union. Interest groups like state civil liberties unions have intimate ties with the parties in power and many of their members participate in political affairs. State lawmakers couldn’t ignore the welfare of countless students, and with a union’s pressure, they would very likely raise public school meal requirements. Those state congressmen might not see power coming from teens, but these interest groups donate money to candidates, formulate public opinion, and overall impact who gets what seat in our capitols. My friends and I could have achieved improved lunches for thousands of students if only we understood the role we could play in politics. If inedible food ever comes near our plates in school again, we know what to do this time.

Legislators, the group of lawmakers, of each state cannot overlook an outcry of criticism because of your age.  After all, the job of Representatives is to represent the people’s thoughts. In a few years, many of us will be able to vote and if these legislators want to keep their benefits for more than two or four years, they will value the younger generation’s view.

A clear conscience about basic laws, our government system, and current issues is not so complicated. As Americans, we should know what actions lead to what results in our nation, and as people, we should be able to advocate for our well being. I get that Kim’s latest selfie is cool, but our current House Speaker has power to affect the country you’re in. After looking at Cosmopolitan or ESPN on the discover section in Snapchat, can you take a look at CNN or the Wall Street Journal as well?

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