The Importance Of Political Activism For Youth
In recent years, America has seen a nationwide surge in youths’ interest in government and politics. This may be because of growing social media platforms, or because of prominent social discussions that seem to be of high interest for younger generations. In some instances, we are placed in positions where we must find stability in historically unstable areas of governments. While I may not be able to vote, I am still politically active. In 2016, I briefly volunteered for the Trump campaign and a few congressional campaigns. Simply by showing up to meetings and helping out, I made lifelong connections to people I never knew were so easily accessible.
Any political science textbook will tell you that adolescents form their opinions based on a variety of sources. Our parents, friends, classes, teachers and media all socialize us to think one way or another. I’ve found that for the most part, teenagers care about the popular issues, social ones. As a conservative, I care about issues regarding freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and the prosperity of the free market. I think it is less socially acceptable to care and talk about the latter. I am tentative as to who I engage in discussion with, because I’ve lost many friends since becoming more and more vocal about my beliefs. Students, myself included, are still taking in the world around them. It’s hard to focus on both school and major social/economic issues at the same time, but I’ve found some balance.
There are countless ways that young people can be involved in politics. The easiest way to find opportunities is to ask for them. Go to your senator's office and ask for an internship. Contact a political publication or university and ask to be a student ambassador. Civil discourse is productive but only to a certain extent – put your money where your mouth is. Volunteer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Habitat for Humanity or Homes For Our Troops. Canvass and electioneer for a candidate you believe would make positive change in your county, state or country. No matter how old you are, policies will affect your day-to-day life, even if you don’t really care. Make connections and be politically active now, so when you graduate or turn 18, you will have the means to work for incumbents or even run for office. Young people have to care about politics because every decision our elected officials make will either affect us now or in the future.
I’ve spent the past few months seizing every possible opportunity presented to me. I spend my free time researching issues that are important to me not only as a young man but as a defender of civil liberties. I have written letters to delegates and senators urging their support for or against bills that I believe infringe upon or promote my rights as an American citizen. As a leader of the Young Republicans of Severna Park High School, I am constantly seeking out Republican incumbents, requesting strong and knowledgeable conservatives to come and teach the members about policies, running for campaigns and important issues in Maryland. All you have to do is contact their offices, and they will most likely jump at the opportunity to educate future voters on the insides of government and politics.