We’ve all seen it. The statuses, the tweets, the memes — you know, the ones that pooled in after the results of the election and the days that followed: “I never have to care about politics again!” or “The elections are over so I don’t have to hear anyone’s political opinion anymore!” Right? Wrong.
The election may very well be over and for at least three and a half years we are free of the seemingly endless and obnoxious presidential campaign attack ads. We can enjoy Pandora without hearing President Obama’s voice and watch television without seeing Gov. Romney’s face.
But the hard work for us as citizens — and especially as young people — has just begun.
What happened in the last few months is a trend that recurs every four years when election season starts to fire up: politics become cool. It becomes a fad to talk about it on social media and one’s desired candidate. We post links to articles and memes that we find online, we tweet and even those who really don’t know what they’re talking about act like they do and join in.
But politics isn’t and shouldn’t be a trend. It’s not simply a tv show whose episodes have been suspended due to a lack of viewership for a few years.
As college students, the youth vote encompassed 19 percent of the country’s vote, according to an exit poll by Edison Research. That’s up 1 percent from 2008, an election that the majority of the media said wouldn’t be surpassed in regards to the youth vote.
We’re getting better, we’re showing up to the polls and rocking the vote, but the work doesn’t stop there.
Lets continue to educate ourselves and each other, stay involved in the news and what’s happening in the world (and not confine ourselves to just one news site, say… MSNBC or Fox) and involve ourselves in political conversation even if it isn’t a trending topic on Twitter.
I constantly hear the conversations of those against the two party split our country is made up of. I constantly hear those opposed to both parties and not wanting to vote for the lesser of two evils. Do something about it.
Take these next three years as an opportunity – an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to advocate what you truly believe in. Don’t wait four more years to vote again, vote in the midterm and primary elections. Now is the time to really start digging in and figuring out what you can do to change what you don’t like about our society.
Besides educating yourself, being on a college campus you all have the wonderful opportunity to join an organization — join the College Democrats, College Republicans, Young Americans for Liberty, Rock the Vote; there’s plenty to choose from.
So stop saying that you’re “over it” and stop acting like you’re too cool for politics now that they’ve stepped aside in popular conversation on your favorite social media sites. Wanna know what actually is “cool”? Caring about your country and doing something about its future.
We are the youth vote of America, and for many of us (sadly not including myself and other seniors), will be again next election. Keep the trend going of increasing youth participation.
So this weekend as you head out to do whatever you do, celebrate the victory of President Obama if you voted for him and drown your sorrows if you’re like me and voted for Mitt Romney. But after the celebrations and mourning periods have ended — stay involved.
Let’s continue to be a generation that’s cognizant, one that cares, one that makes a difference and steps up — and not just on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November every four years.