"I don't have time to be informed." "I just like that guy." "My parents are voting for him." These statements are just a few of the political opinions I hear on a daily basis around my college campus related to the 2012 presidential election.
When I first got to college, I thought it would be a magical place full of heated discussions about social and economic issues with valid backing to make for Judge Judy-level debates. Wrong. In fact, most of the time, it seems kids at my school just don't care. Not everyone, of course, but a significant number that makes me quite worried about our future.
For a long time I agreed. I thought, "What does my vote count?" I figured there are six million registered voters in my state, so my vote doesn't change anything. Well, I was wrong (I didn't vote against Amendment One and I deeply regret it).
For this reason, I often wonder why so many teens and college students aren't concerned with government. Much of the time I get the feeling that voting is simply a burden many would like to ignore. Yes, sometimes processing this many serious issues can seem extremely overwhelming, but that is why we have access to valid information about each candidate and the impact of their policies.
When I hear "I'm just not informed enough to be make a decision," I want to scream (sometimes I'm dramatic). We cannot simply ignore the issues that are so deeply rooted in our society. When you ignore social issues, you just get bigger social issues. The same goes for economic, environmental and all other significant policy decisions of this time in history.
Fascinatingly, we are more connected to information than ever before. We take information with us everywhere. Clearly, you are reading this from a computer and I am willing to bet you know exactly where your iPhone is. So, for me, there are no excuses. For Generation Y especially, we do not get to complain about not knowing the facts. If you want to know more about a current issue, research it!
College is a time in life when we are finally able to form our own decisions about politics without the influence or worry of disapproval from our family and peers. It is a time we should invest in learning about how we can most effectively govern our nation. It is a time we should invest in ourselves because we are the future.
So turn on the news (I suggest watching programs on all different news networks to be well-rounded, and maybe get a laugh out of a couple), watch SNL, catch a clip of The Daily Show, listen to NPR (it's not as boring as it sounds), and absolutely use your school's library database to your advantage.
Whatever you do, make sure you are objective. Listen to the facts, interpret the data presented to you and make a decision based on which candidate most closely appeals to the way you feel about issues.