politics

COLUMN: Sharing the lasting effects of national politics



Sometimes I’m amazed at how little my peers know about current events and political issues.

It’s not a judgmental, ‘how-do-you-not-know-this, what-are-you-doing-with-your-life’ sort of amazed, because part of me understands. It’s a lot easier to float through life focusing only on your own spheres of school, friends and family and ignoring the things that don’t seem to have any immediate effect on you.

It’s easy to choose entertainment over news, to keep the bigger issues out of your mental newsfeed.

It’s easy, but it’s also — I would argue — wrong.

Hi, I’m Cassie. I’m a double major in journalism and political science with a minor in sociology, and I think the issues are important. I think it’s imperative that we 20-somethings start paying attention to who governs us and how they govern us, and we need to do it now.

That’s why I’m writing this column. I want to use my knowledge in the spheres of politics and journalism to help people understand how what happens in Washington, D.C., can have lasting effects on their lives.

I want people to realize that the suits on Capitol Hill aren’t spending their days figuring out how to govern themselves — they’re figuring out how to govern us. By electing them, we’ve not only given them a title, but power over our lives.

Our democracy wasn’t given to us freely. It was fought for and decided on and honed for decades to make it work the way we wanted it to. It’s a government run by representatives of the people, and it only works if the people vote.

But it’s also my belief that voting is a privilege and should be carried out by people who have done their research and know the plans each candidate has for running the county, state or country.

So what I’m saying is this: get informed and go vote. But if November comes around and you have yet to figure out what’s what, stay home and give up your right to voice an opinion for the next two to four years.

I’m going to urge you again, though: If we don’t pay attention to what those 436 people are doing, they’re going to notice.

If we start caring only about how they’re perceived in whatever news channel we tune in to or their familial scandals, you better believe they’re going to play to that.

They’ll divert your eyes from the substance of their campaigns and speak only about superficial issues that don’t have anything to do with legislation.

The first 2016 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is Monday, and I’m predicting both will shy away from substance. They won’t want to talk about their policy plans — Clinton because she’s divisive, and Trump because he hasn’t got much in way of logistics.

Both candidates will boast their past accomplishments and assert the past failures of the other. Clinton will highlight Trump’s failed business endeavors, while Trump will attack Clinton for her email scandals.

We’ll turn off the debate and feel either angry or confused, but not hopeful, because they’d have to discuss what they plan to realistically accomplish as president to give us hope.

Please, pay attention. Don’t stop caring. Because our democracy will fail to help us if we fail to recognize it.

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