Who Cares About Politics?


The White House of the United States of America.

   These days, it seems like if the opposite of pro is con, the opposite of progress is congress. Washington has yet to pass more than 56 bills in the entirety of 2013, the lowest output for our nation’s representatives since 1976.  Groups like the Tea Party and powerful political lobbies for industries like oil are furthering the divide between our political parties and putting self-interest over public wants. Gun control legislation, which enjoyed 90 percent approval among the public, was voted down by a politically charged senate. Probably most alarming of all was the recent government shutdown, which,  in one of the biggest displays of obstructionism in recent memory, put thousands out of work and risked a repeat economic recession.

   Now, the easy and most obvious questions for every high school student are one many of us ask on a daily basis regarding politics: Why does this matter to me, and what can I as a high school student do?

   Well the answer to the first question is quite simple, what our nations politicians do and in some cases don’t do directly affects every one of us. Legislation regarding issues like education determine funding for those laptops we unsuspectingly use to play Dolphin Olympics, our cafeteria food, history books, teacher pay, new sports equipment, curriculum, and countless other things. Laws regarding gun control, welfare, and this country’s budget affect the well being of millions of American’s on a daily basis. Without governmental funding for those things we take for granted like road maintenance, cancer research, unemployment benefits, our lives would be drastically different.

   We, as the next generation of leaders in this country have an obligation to learn about these issues and care about what happens in our governmental process. If we want to prevent the political stagnation and partisan bickering that is currently destroying our democracy, we need to learn from the mistakes of today’s political system and promote a future of compromise that will keep these United States a global hegemon for years to come.

   The answer to the second question is more complex, however. As high school students with busy schedules  and a millions things to do, it can easily seem humongous a waste of time to keep track of politics when we can neither vote nor participate. While this may be true, paying attention to our nation’s issues at this plays a much larger role later in life.

   Firstly, all high school kids can try to stay informed and pay attention to what happens in our nation. If we strive to become informed and politically engaged citizens at this age, we will become responsible and politically productive adults in the future. Although we may not know it, many of us will become the legislators and leaders of tomorrow. It is imperative that we understand the importance of compromise and moving this country forward, so we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of this congress. However, learning about politics doesn’t have to only be through reading articles. Shows like the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart can be great ways to entertainingly digest the news!

   Secondly, we need to do what we can to get involved. This may be the harder one, but with motivation it can be achieved. Volunteering for local campaigns, starting clubs and discussions about politics and joining the local political parties can all be great ways to partake in our democratic process and see politics in motion. The Republican Party has a vibrant Teenage Republicans program (TARS) and the Democratic party offers its own youth wing. BVN offers not only a Young Democrats Club, but a Young Republicans club as well, both created to help kids engage in our nation’s democracy. Through these endeavors, we can stop the stagnation, be informed and responsible citizens, and be the productive leaders of tomorrow.

   In this age of  obstructionism and stagnation it’s hard to see a bright future for this nation’s democracy. Our generation can change that by staying informed and getting involved . Lets finally figure out what Obamacare actually does, let’s read about the contents of the latest budget bill and let’s even find out why Mitch McConnell is sometimes called the box turtle of the Senate. So get up and get out there, who knows, maybe we will see you on the floor of the Senate in no time.