Why, how should students be politically active?


Common Sense Staff

I hold a very firm belief that democracy only works when people voice their opinions. After all, wasn’t this country founded on the belief that our government is by the people, for the people?
However, we are currently so divided as a nation that is it hard to get federal legislation passed that pleases a majority of people. This is why it is crucial that people voice their desires and needs to their local representatives, especially minors.
Following the election, there was a lot of talk about how much the country was going to change with the shift from a Democratic Executive branch to a Republican one. Ties to political parties have become so important in government that it feels like that’s the only way that legislation gets passed.
It seems that most representatives only vote on legislation in favor of their party, not for their constituents. As a citizen, I feel cheated. As a minor, I feel powerless.
I often feel as if I have no say in democracy. As minors, we are unable to vote. We have no say in who holds the power to represent our state or district, but we aren’t silenced completely.
All elected officials are held accountable by term limits. If a representative wants to be re-elected, they will serve their constituents dutifully.
Even though we hold no power to vote, it is important to use our power to contact local representatives and let them know what we want. It is also important to exercise our right to protest our beliefs.
Regardless of party affiliation, race, gender or religion, you have the power to make the change you want to see in society.
Our senators are currently attending confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. Hypothetically, let’s say that you do not necessarily agree with the agenda of Betsy DeVos. You obtain the power to contact Ben Cardin or Chris Van Hollen (Maryland senators) and attempt to persuade them to vote against her.
Although your voice cannot be heard directly, your representative can make it heard. You can make a difference through one phone call. It may not feel like it, but your voice matters, and it is important that you know this.
Most students are often too busy with schoolwork or extracurricular activities to find the time to be politically active. Voting is the most common way that American citizens are politically active. It seems like a hassle, but in order for democracy to function swiftly, the people must stay active.
The sad thing is, people who obtain the right to vote do not exercise it that often. According to data from the United States Elections Project, an estimated 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote in the most recent presidential election.
The presidency is the most coveted seat in our country, and about 92,671,979 registered voters simply did not vote. These numbers could have made a substantial difference.
Don’t be one of 92,671,979. It is important to be politically active. You can make a difference.

Julia Stern

Social Media Editor