Opinion: Young people need to get involved in politics

Decision-makers and voters should reflect the demographics of our diverse country

Opinion: Young people need to get involved in politics

Mia Fazio, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Speaking from the point of view of a young adult in the year 2021, we are living in a very politically-driven and divided time. It feels as if everywhere we turn, we are met with a new challenge to face. Whether this issue be how to deal with COVID-19, the battle against systemic racism and police brutality or fighting inhumane immigration policies, we see a lot of older white men making the decisions. This is a harmful way to conduct our society and it needs to end now. According to the United Nations, young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population. This group is very important to what decisions should be made within our society and specifically our government. Teenagers and young adults are about to step into the world and make it their own. Although this age group cannot actively play a role in the government, they can make their voices heard through social media, voting, and activism. 

Frequently it is said that more and more adolescents and young adults are getting involved in political and social issues. While some people believe this is a bad thing since the youth are not as knowledgeable as those who are older, I think it is extremely important for younger generations to get involved in their own futures. As time progresses, society needs to as well. We need people willing to fight for equal rights, to fight for proper COVID-19 responses, to fight against systemic racism and police brutality, to speak their minds and help us grow as a community. If those people are the younger generations, then so be it.  The current youth are recognizing problems and demanding change in a way that will probably be seen as historic. It is so important for the youth to let their voices be heard and speak for themselves and their future generations to come. 

A paper from the United Nations’ website says, “They [the youth] can be a creative force, a dynamic source of innovations, and they have undoubtedly, throughout history, participated, contributed, and even catalyzed important changes in political systems, power-sharing dynamics and economic opportunities.” With young minds and curious ideas, new generations have great plans for the future and a hope to better the world. That kind of optimism, mixed with the realism we face everyday through the tragedies we see and hear about, is the key to our success in creating change. This is not the first time the youth has made change in history, and it will not be the last, but it will certainly be monumental.

With each year, more and more young adults are becoming politically aware and active. According to a survey done by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University, 83% of young adults between the ages 18 and 29 in 2020 believe young people have the power to change the country. This statistic is 10% higher than it was in 2018. This study states that a large part of this change comes from people realizing how much politics impacts their daily lives through the pandemic, and through the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests in the past year. 

There is so much more to our country, and our world, than old white men. We need to have representation on all levels for all the walks of life different people take. Vote, advocate, make your voices heard. You cannot expect to see change in the world if you yourself will not participate in making that change.