By Sarah Friedman, Contributing Writer
American democracy was designed to give the people the power, but many young people today are neglecting this right.
Many millennials, who are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, are unaware of current political events and do not vote. They are only hurting themselves through this apathy.
American citizens are given the ability to be an active member of the political system, and young citizens should exercise this right and make their own voices heard as politically active citizens.
Being active in political affairs involves being a concerned citizen who is aware of current events affecting politics.
However, many millennials are unaware of basic knowledge about the United States government.
A Pew Research Center poll taken in April of 2015 demonstrates the lack of political knowledge in the younger age category, compared to older participants.
Only forty-seven percent of participants between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine were able to identify the current Senate party composition from a set of four charts, while in contrast, fifty-eight percent of people between the ages of seventy and eighty-seven correctly identified the composition.
There was an even bigger gulf between the older generation and the younger generation when it came to identifying an image of Elizabeth Warren, a prominent figure in the Democratic party, from a set of four photos and being able to identify Cuba as the country with which the United States had recently reestablished diplomatic relations, according to the center.
This poll demonstrates that millennials tend to be far less informed about current events and politics than older generations.
There are many easily accessible outlets for news media available on television and the Internet, so the information is readily available and it is just up to young people to seek it out.
Informed political decisions are dependent on the entire voting population making an effort to be knowledgeable of the issues affecting the country.
Low voting rates for millennials are another indicator that young people are not active members of the political system.
According to NPR writer Asma Khalid, “In the 2012 election, voters between the ages of 18-29 made up just 19 percent of the electorate — that’s HALF the share of the Baby Boomer voting bloc.”
Millennials make up approximately the same percentage of eligible voters as the Baby Boomer generation, but the Baby Boomers are far more likely to vote.
This disparity indicates that the overall population is not accurately represented in elections, because young people are not making their voices heard.
Older voters are active in the political system, and through their votes, they are making decisions on laws that not only affect their own age group, but all people living under the government.
If millennials want their interests to be represented in the government, they must be as active in politics as older citizens are.
If millennials can make a unified effort to become active citizens, the nation will be closer to the ideal of equal representation that democracy is designed to promote.
Young people should make a conscious effort to be aware of pertinent political issues and to use their knowledge of current events when exercising their right to vote.
Many young Americans are allowing others to make decisions about the government for them, and essentially giving up their rights as citizens.
If young people want to see political change in the future, they must take the initiative to become politically active citizens.