Talk is cheap, but voting is free

By Suzanne Droste 2005

Nothing bothers me more than listening to people who complain about our community, country and world as they walk the hallways of school. I don’t think anyone has the right to complain unless they are doing something to create a change. It is only human that at some point people complain about some policy, decision or direction our government is choosing. So, the biggest question is, ,then why do so many young people ignore politics and government altogether?

I believe that this is a tragic mistake and possibly one of the biggest our generation is making. Somewhere in history, it has become un-cool to be politically active. Since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971, the number of voters between the ages of 18-24 has been steadily declining. In 1972, 43.4 percent of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote in the presidential election. However, in 2000, it had dropped to only 28.7 percent.

Though not all young people, especially at Cedar Falls High School, are old enough to vote, it is never to early to take action. I now many like to use the excuse that it doesn’t affect them, but it does. The government ultimately has control over many issues in everyday life. those of us with jobs pay taxes; many teenagers are worried about the costs of college; we all have to suffer the consequences of war; and, as the cost of living increases, the importance of good jobs is becoming increasingly important for young adults.

The decisions being made today in Washington are the ones that will affect today’s youth for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it makes no sense to let older adults make these decisions for us.

It is our right, and I believe our duty, as Americans to share our opinions and create change.

There is no better time than now to get involved.

With the presidential race in full swing, there are many opportunities for you to change your community and take action on the ideas you care about the most.

Additionally, talking to the local county or state officials is the most direct way to get your opinions heard. Or, you could do something as small as discussing issues you’re passionate about with friends.

Whether you support Bush, Kerry, another candidate or just want to see some things changed, take a stand and get involved.

Otherwise, do not complain, for politicians obviously won’t pay attention to you if you’re paying no attention to them.

To get involved, contact the local Democratic Party (236-2992), Republican Party (233-2183) or the Black Hawk County courthouse (833-3007) to volunteer. And if you will be 18 by Nov. 2, register to vote before Oct. 18.

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