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The Power of Youth

In just four short months, I will be 18 and over this past year I have been very excited that I will have to opportunity to vote in the 2012 Election this November. Being in Government and Economics class this year has really opened my eyes to want to become more aware of and more involved in our government today. Knowing that I will have the opportunity to vote has really influenced me to pay more attention and become more aware of what is going on in society today.

Over the course of this past trimester, we have covered many topics such as the Elections, Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts. The one unit that we have covered that has truly interested me is when we discussed Elections and we talked about voter participation and campaign commercials. Many would argue that the votes of young Americans don’t matter because they are inexperienced and don’t completely understand what America really wants, or needs. Even though young Americans aren’t as experienced as their elders, most people don’t understand how important the votes of young Americans really are.

One question that we were asked to think about was, “does modest voter participation in America really matter?” I believe that if people are uninformed about what is going on in our U.S. government, their votes wouldn’t do anyone any good. In other words, it would be better for them to not vote at all. If these uninformed people voted, their votes wouldn’t help us, U.S. citizens, get an accurate depiction of what the people in America actually want to see in a leader. The elite democratic model suggests that full participation is not as important as having a fair leader that the people of America who are involved in politics want. I agree completely with this model. If unmotivated and uninformed people vote in the Presidential Election this would hurt our government, not necessarily help it. However, even though this is my opinion about younger voters, I still believe that if a majority of young Americans were educated about politics then this would positively impact the result of any presidential election greatly. This is seen to have happened in the 2008 Election; approximately 2 to 3 million more young people voted than in 2004, causing the voter-participation rate to be the highest in a century. Also, in 2008, 66% of American citizens under 30 voted for President Obama making the difference between young voters and any other age group the largest since the exit polling began in the presidential election in 1972.

In order to target these young voters in the 2008 Election, President Obama clearly took advantage of the use of campaign commercials. One can infer this from watching the campaign commercial, “Yes We Can”. In this commercial there are a lot of young Americans from different backgrounds showing their support for President Obama in the 2008 Election. This probably helped lead to the agreement between all young Americans from all different backgrounds to think of “Yes We Can” with President Obama as president. I believe that this ad really helped out President Obama in 2008. I liked how the commercial “Yes We Can” had a song in because it made me believe that the country would be better with a change in the White House. Throughout this unit, it truly amazed me how a commercial or a group of people can really affect the result of a presidential election.

Over the course of this school year I have honestly and truly learned a lot. I really feel like I have grown to appreciate what the government does to help and secure America as the “land of the free”. Being in Government and Economics has helped me start to form my own opinions that I feel I will carry for the rest of my life. Being more aware and being educated about politics at a young age is very beneficial because it allows more people to know that they can make a difference in society today. After all, “children are the future” and in order to create a future that young Americans will be proud of, more involvement is necessary in the government to form America around the values that we want it to be like for the rest of our lives.

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