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Get into the action of the political scene

Civics Week encourages students to get involved in a waning political system

June 8, 2016

Politics. The dreaded word heard almost everywhere one turns.

Some get excited about the thrill of competition and giving birth to legislative acts for change. Others loathe the thought of the political process and the zombies behind corrupt systems who somehow possess authority. However one thinks about politics, one thing is for certain - it is important and there is no escaping it, no matter what is going on in our government and society.

Civics week is an educational experience that plays as a beneficial tool for self-discovery of one’s unrealized political skills and potential. This informative week is dedicated to igniting students’ interest in school and possibly state-wide politics. Most have witnessed, contributed or have participated in student government elections growing up and may not have realized the building blocks that they contributed in giving us a glimpse of real world politics.

College government is a great leap from the petty popularity contests of grade school. More focus on a student’s political platform and goals is definitely a more refreshing change.

Concerning current national political affairs, the general elections are coming soon to determine who will be the 45th president and the growing population students of the millennial generation now have the opportunity to vote.

But it seems as though participation in the political process is quite low. According to statics calculated by the Center of American Progress, 31% of millennials are eligible to vote as of this year, but voter turnout at this year’s primaries had “barely budged” since 2008. One US News contributor, Sophia Yeres, said that the consumption of social media outlets within the millennial population is a major tool that helps “seize the national conscious and define the public debate” but fail to be effective in “channeling that energy toward electoral politics.”

This is a significant trend to address because generational methods of communication have changed.  Physical or active interaction in conventional matters is mostly done behind a screen.

As the country witnessed the “interesting” occurrences of the Republican and Democratic nominations, it is plain to see that the party system is “crumbling.” Universally, people do not know who to vote for in this convoluted system anymore. It is not surprising the thought running through student minds is “What’s the point?”

As ambitious individuals pursuing higher education, we are aware that we have the constitutional right to voice our opinions freely about topics that affect our lives and well-being. But issues dealing with financial stability, job opportunities, civil rights and injustices, and a plethora of other controversial issues that dictate our lives everyday are controlled by our live political sector, as flawed as it might be.

As citizens, the only way we can execute the right to have a firm say in these issues that actually have an impact on political institutions and individuals occupying local and national government is to get into the action. One cannot rely on Twitter or Facebook as a safe haven, as appealing as it may sound at the moment.

As students of the new generation of voters and active political leaders and participants, think of this as a “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a song by the Seattle based grunge band Nirvana originally speculated as a voice for the ignored and neglected generation X. We are all created in this world to have a purpose and a mind worth listening to. If you can think and express yourself, then you are capable of making decisions that affect not only our own individual lives, but also the lives of others.  

Be the change. Be involved. It begins here.

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