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As Long as We Remember...

August 16, 2012

Where’s the Interest? Why isn’t there more?

Zachary Peters

Teen Mom, Toddlers in Tiaras, 16 and Pregnant, and the granddaddy of them all, Jersey Shore are just a few examples of the television shows that dominate the young adult generation these days.


Glorifying teenage pregnancy, alcohol abuse, and transforming small innocent children into pageant queens are the things that young adults talk about, think about, and most importantly, tweet about.


However, should you visit my Twitter (@zapeters) you won’t find anything of this sort. Unlike what seems like the majority of my generation, you’ll find articles and thoughts on public policy and candidate research rather than the “Honey Boo Boo Child,” or how many sexual partners Snooki has had this week.


To be clear, I don’t mean to “toot my own horn” about being involved, but rather to spread some attention to this atrocity, especially with an election just around the corner. This is not some quest for everyone to drop all of their interests and become a political junkie like me, but maybe a little interest would be nice.


We all know Mitt Romney; we all know Barack Obama. But do we really know what is at stake? More importantly, does my generation really care about what is at stake?


In the 2008 election (the one in which President Obama has been said to bring out all of the young voters), less than 50% of eligible 18-year-old voters were registered to vote according to Did all of those who were registered actually vote? Am I the only one alarmed by this?


I fondly remember walking through the Walkersville Carnival last summer and stopping at the GOP tent to speak with Carol Powell. It was this moment when I registered to vote and became a full-functioning member of our democracy; I felt like a million bucks. When I actually voted I felt like two million bucks (I even took the time to mail in absentee ballots for the primary election, as well as the municipal election in Mount Airy. It upsets me that I consider this so crucial and memorable part of my life, and some people my age (even older) have not registered to vote, nor care to.


But registering to vote is only half of the battle. After registration comes the crucial “educational” aspect to voting. You have to research the candidates, know the issues, take a stance, and make an informed decision to give your vote real meaning. Voting along party lines, or for a specific race, sex, or religion, is simply a wasted vote. As a registered Republican, I usually end up voting that way, but I always examine candidates and their stance on the important issues to be sure that I make the right decision about who I want to represent my views in Washington, Annapolis, and Winchester Hall.


As a Republican, I spend most of my time campaigning for conservative candidates and causes (just ask my Facebook friends). Yes, I lean more conservative, but if you educate yourself on the issues and you tend to lean more liberal, then bless your heart for wanting to be more engaged and informed. Nothing wrong with that!


I shouldn’t have to say this, but to refresh a few memories; America was built on the overall basis of freedom, meaning you have the freedom to vote for and support whoever it is that you so choose, and then some. Personally, I would be embarrassed to be un-registered to vote, especially after considering all of the men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms and ensure our democratic form of government.


It’s time to wake up, my friends. Register to vote. Educate yourself on the candidates and issues, and vote for whomever it is that aligns best with your thoughts and views.


Our futures are at stake, especially during this election. And have no fear, after the election, I’m sure the cast of Jersey Shore will still be drinking and laughing all the way to the bank.


I wonder if they vote…


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