The children are the future.
Whitney Houston said this in her iconic song "Greatest Love of All." Walt Disney said "Our greatest natural resources are the minds of our children." So we know that young minds are the fires behind revolutions and the catalyst for change, but when given the opportunity to vote -- they do very little with it. I wonder, why is that? Being a young adult myself, I know that many young adults feel like their vote won't matter, that only people 40+ care about the 'issues,' they don't have the time to make it to the polling place with their busy schedules, "why can't I just e-mail my vote," many aren't even registered, and the remaining would choose to nap a little longer, rather than make a difference.
We are a lazy and shortsighted generation.
July 1st was the 40th anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment which gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. The amendment was signed by President Nixon on July 5th, 1971. July 4th was Independence Day, and I'm sure many young folks celebrated the right to chug a beer, rather than contemplate how their political party represents them.
According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement, only 42 percent of the eligible young people between the ages of 18 to 24 voted in the 2000 presidential election. I was startled by this statistic. Why don't young people vote? Young people are by far the most agile, the most able-bodied, and usually have the most to lose or gain in political elections, but still they remain silent.
It is appalling to see that in a democratic nation like ours that so few young adults believe that their voice and their vote can make a difference. Since 1972 the rate of youth participation has steadily declined. Fifty-one percent of 18-24 year-olds' voted in 1972, and in 2000 that number fell by 13 percent. Maybe it was due to the injustices of the Vietnam War, but those 18-24 year olds in the 70s seemed to have more at stake and desperately wanted to see a change in the world. Right now, my age group has become complacent with Second Life and whether Kim Kardashian's ass is real... all mindless fodder, in my opinion.
The 70s was a time of political and social change. Transparency became paramount with scandals like Watergate and a variety of wars waged for no reason. Although we are in the same predicament thirty years later, the youth still walk around with rose-colored glasses or unaware of the power that a simple vote can have.
2012 is fast approaching, and it is a year that young adults can make a difference, a year where they revolt, a year where they can enact change. As long as the youth come together and are clear about the changes they want and how they want them implemented, we can make this country better for generations to come. Wouldn't 2012 be great to have a leader who spoke to your needs... Democratic, Republican, Independent, Tea Party, or part of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, or I'm Drowning in Student Loans Party -- we have the voice, we have the power.
And what good is a voice, if you don't use it?