Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Break From Sports; Find Your Voice

In the last few months we, as Americans have heard a lot of things. We have been barraged by media storms covering conventions, speeches, background checks and nominations. We have followed a race, one that has become a battle. Most of us have anyways. Maybe you aren’t among those who have, and that’s ok, but it is time to speak up.
To the young people of America, I say this; find your voice. Many of the people that will read this will be under the voting age of 18. You may feel as if you don’t have a voice in a society that rightfully restricts the age at which you have the opportunity to cast a vote. Please, don’t believe that. You may not have a vote, but you still have a voice. Find it.
It is easier than you may think. One of the most beautiful things about this country is that you will always have an opportunity and a right to be heard. Sure, not everyone can make time to volunteer to a campaign, or to try to convince your peers to support a candidate or an issue. That’s fine. There are easier, simpler ways that you can be involved in this presidential election. All you have to do is make a point.
Speak up in a class, engage in a debate there. Tell your friends or your parents who you support and why. Find a friend you disagree with and engage in a discussion of what you take issue with in their views. Get your opinion out there. It is one of the most important things you can do, for even though no one else can take your voice away from you, if you don’t express your opinions, you take it away from yourself. Make sure you use it, but just as importantly, make sure you hear someone else’s. See another side of an argument; understand why conservatives think you’re too liberal, or why liberals think that you’re too conservative. We can all be proud of our country, and enlightened disagreement is American as it gets. That is why American men and women have died on the battle fields of France, Germany, Afghanistan and, yes, Iraq, so that you can tell someone why they are wrong, and so that they can tell you why you are.
Our generation will fight a political war. The last generation was white versus black (and enlightened minds heroically inspired a truce). This generation, that of our parents fights a battle, liberals versus conservatives. Eventually we will fight an even more important one; apathy versus involvement. Our generation was blessed with an extraordinary ability to complain. While this may not strike you as a gift, I assure you that it is. After all, this country was founded on dissent. The problem is this; only if we get involved do we earn our right to dissent.
So, finally, I beg of you this. Get involved, care know the issues, know why you are right, but also why you may be wrong, and if you are of age, vote. Politics may seem to be the sport of older men and women, but make no mistake; they affect you as much as anyone. Involvement can begin before even the right to vote, unfortunately, so can apathy. Don’t let it happen to you, find your voice.

No comments: