abbie hall col-20 somethings-politics

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To all who care to read this: I would like to take this opportunity to expose my political ignorance.
Sure, I love listening to NPR. I read the paper. Sometimes, I even accidentally watch TV news. Still, I am guilty of voluntarily limiting my exposure to presidential candidate coverage. Driving down the road, I chuckle as radio hosts report on the new ballet inspired by the meltdown of Britney Spears (no, really, look it up), but as soon as they shift to election coverage, I shift my dial to another station.
I know, I know. It’s terrible. But please allow me to explain.
I’m putting myself out there to represent many of those in my generation. Just like any other age group, twenty-somethings vary widely in political awareness ó from hardcore political junkies to those who can’t even name all of the candidates. I’ve spoken to those on both sides of the spectrum, but the majority seem to be floating along in the same confused little boat as I am.
It’s not that I’ve blinded myself to the issues facing my generation. Social security, the energy crisis; it could easily be argued that these issues affect twenty-somethings more than any other age group. Still, we voluntarily remain ignorant about our candidates.
For one thing, it’s difficult to know who to believe these days. We were the first generation to be raised with the Internet as part of our everyday lives; we understand just how many different sources are available for acquiring information these days. The problem is, each of these sources seem to be telling us something different. So what are we to do? Close our eyes, spin in circles, and point?
The amount of conflicting data at our fingertips is overwhelming enough to make us throw up our hands and call the whole “caring about politics” thing off. Still, I think the main problem is that we don’t feel acknowledged or understood.
Many have ventured to voice their opinion, only to be informed that they don’t understand because they’re too young and inexperienced. Either this, or they are simply ignored. After all, we youngsters have the lowest voter turnout by far. Why should we even be catered to? The topic of politics actually comes up quite frequently when I’m conversing with those my own age, but discussions almost always seem to end with the same consensus: our votes, and our voices, don’t even seem to count.
So go ahead and make us angry. I can tell you what will happen. Some will complain amongst each other. Some will run to the Internet and complain, anonymously and without achieving much of anything. But mostly, we’ll just shift the dial. Don’t try to tell me otherwise. I see it happen every day.