As the inauguration approaches and Washington gears up for battle, Americans tired of seeing our government held hostage by rigid ideologues, take heart. Help could be on the way in the form of young voters who flexed their political muscle in November.
As a member of the millennial generation, I recognize the implications of today's policies on not only myself, but my kids and their kids' future. Isn't this all the more reason we should let our voices be heard once elections come to and end?
Despite the punditry claiming there was less enthusiasm this year among young people, they ended up making the difference in the election this year. Now that millenials are the largest voting bloc in the country, their influence will continue to grow.
In an election as close as this year's presidential contest, any group can make a credible claim for having made the critical difference in the outcome. But there is certainly no denying the impact the Millennial Generation had on the outcome of the 2012 election.
This year, both candidates have focused heavily on the economy -- and with good reason, as it is on the mind of nearly every voter. But what gets far too little attention is the fact that the future of the American economy is tied directly to the success of young people.
In the laundry list of popular stereotypes of young people, political apathy features prominently. It's the Me Generation. Generation Entitlement. Young people, we are told, care more about Lady Gaga's latest outfit than about the upcoming election.
College life exposes students to democracy in action. They are challenged by new thoughts and ideas and must learn to consider and respect multiple opinions and perspectives, both in the classroom and in other campus interactions with their peers.
The results of the Harvard Public Opinion Project's new poll reveal a democracy at risk. The 2012 election might bring the lowest youth voter turnout since 18-year-olds were allowed to vote in 1972. Our democracy is at risk and we must do something about it.
We need to get young people the information they need to register and then to vote. For many in this age group, they have moved from home to go to school in a new community where the rules may be unclear to them.
The voting power of young adults certainly exists; the issue has now just become a question of action. As a person who is both a youth voter and a college student, the non-empirically based answer seems quite easy: convenience.
Vote? Stay at home? Re-elect Obama? Stand with Ron Paul? Write in Lady Gaga? All of the above options -- except one -- should be on the table. We cannot sit at home on Election Day, because this could be the year of the youth vote as both sides need our support.