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Politics From a Teen’s Point of View

By Emily Kratzer, Classroom Manager of giantword.com

 

Teens approaching 18 have an important opportunity to make an impact on the community, the state, and the country just by voting. A problem students face is becoming an informed voter. There are plenty of opportunities to follow varying opinions through social media, so where exactly should students go to get objective or unbiased information?

“It is important for teens become informed so that they will be prepared when they are able to vote,” said Mr. Richards, history and government teacher at WHS,  “because there are so many issues that affect our society and our future. Becoming informed allows teens to realize the potential for change they have and allows them to discover which issues are most important to them. This will spark motivation for them to vote and be active citizens who have a say in their futures and the future of our communities. “

Though everyone forms their political beliefs in a different way, many WHS students are influenced by their parents or family members.  Josh Allen, WHS senior, said he formed many of his beliefs through the influence of his parents, even though they have some difference in opinions. Seth Wood, WHS senior, said his beliefs developed through a combination of personal beliefs, observations of the world, and current and past politics. Emily Perry, WHS junior, said her beliefs come from her family. Anna Fridley, WHS junior, said she has formed her beliefs from watching the news and finding out information about the political parties and politicians.

So where can students get information in order to form their political decisions? According to Mr. Dennis, history and government teacher at WHS,  students should get their information by watching the news, or reading newspapers or articles from news organizations online. When asked about why teenagers don’t vote, Dennis said, students don’t know where to go.

“Nobody’s ever told them that they can qualify to vote,” said Dennis. “Nobody’s ever taken the time to explain to them you’re 18, you can vote, here’s where you can go. If they do know those things, it’s just laziness, which is typical of all voters.”

Wood, Allen, Perry, and Fridley all said that students need to be well informed in order to express their political beliefs around school. There are debates held in classes from time to time, but aside from that, there aren’t many options for students to discuss politics in a mature, appropriate manner.

 

“I think that having politically enlightening discussions with adults can be one the best ways to develop and express their (students’) beliefs,” said Wood. “Talking with teachers and with other students or in class can also be helpful, but listening to other peoples’ opinions, rather than just stating your own, is what’s most important in the conversation.”

Perry, Fridley, Allen, and Wood were asked about what political problems have caught their attention.

Perry said, “We need to make sure we are accommodating people’s needs regarding jobs. We should focus on our national debt and trying to keep taxes low.”

“I think that the minimum wage should be increased a little,” said Fridley, “because there are some people who are working full time who are under the poverty line.”

“I think one of the biggest issues in politics is the lack of term limits for Congress,” said Allen. “A Constitutional amendment is likely the only way to create such limits, as Congress is quite unlikely to limit itself. Currently members of Congress serve as many terms as they can be elected to, aided by their incumbency. The established politicians seek re-election more than the good of the country, contributing to gridlock in Washington today. Imposing term limits would introduce new ideas from new people, and would allow politicians to focus on what needs to be done rather than just focusing on themselves.”

“One thing is definitely cooperation between the two major parties at the federal level,” said Wood.  “Conflicts between the President and Congress, where both sides are at fault, are a major issue. If people could agree at that level, better things could be resolved and attention could be focused on more important issues.”

Students are encouraged to do their research when it comes to making an informed decision on voting. Whether you follow CNN, Fox News or read The News Virginian, by doing your part and being informed, you’re contributing to the political world.

Tell us what political problems concern you by posting a comment below.

 

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