In 39 days young people will play a pivotal role in deciding who is elected president of The United States.
There are already 46 million youth voters, aged 18-29, registered to help decide who will lead the country through the next four years, according to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
The Democratic Party was incredibly successful in capturing the support of young people to rally behind Barack Obama as a candidate for president in 2008. 66 percent of young people voted for Obama in 2008 which gave him the advantage he needed to sweep his opponent Senator John McCain, according to Pew Research Center. 53 percent of those young people were women.
This past year has been wrought with partisan drama concerning the economy, women’s health care, and rising costs for public education. Some of these topics have turned into partisan footballs fought over by the two enemy teams.
Students both in college and in high school are facing uncertainty, with debt due to daunting unemployment rates and rising costs of higher education. Typical aspects of our futures we once took for granted, such as home ownership or steady jobs, are now luxuries denied to many.
As young women, our personal health care decisions are now debated in public forum instead of in the privacy of our doctors’ offices. It is no longer up to the individual whether or not to start a family, but up to the politicians who play it as a poker chip.
The political climate in which we are coming of age is rife with debate and decision making. The world seems more complicated than ever as we struggle through one of the greatest recessions of all time in the midst of a long and controversial war. We are of the age where taking part in politics is a right that we must exercise unless we want to remain powerless for another four years.
In 2008 it was the youth vote that decided the outcome of the presidential election. With that kind of power comes a responsibility to understand all the issues that pertain most to the outcome of our future. However, there is more than one way to exercise that power. Filling out a ballot on November 5 is not the only way to take a stand. Whether or not you’re old enough to vote in this election it is unbelievably important that you educate yourself to the world around you and the issues that are shaping it.