Seen elseforum, posted by an eighteen-year-old signing himself 'Cambreath'...
I am eighteen.
And I am ashamed that 76% of my generation cannot be bothered to raise a hand. Only 24% - less than one quarter - of us voted in 2006. When older people describe our generation as apathetic and lazy, I am ashamed that I cannot refute them. I am ashamed that they are correct. Our generation is the most apathetic in American history, but we have the most to be concerned about. We will be around long after today’s politicians are dead and gone, yet we stand idly by while they trample on our rights, destroy our planet, crash our economy, and ruin our future.
This country is unique in the world, in that we have the right to vote. If our government – by, for, and of the people – fails to serve us, the people, then we have the right to change the government. Around the world, people suffering under the yoke of tyranny dream of the rights that we squander. Around the world, the worst fear of tyrants is not the bullet but the ballot. Around the world, in Iran and Kashmir and Taiwan and Saudi Arabia and Rwanda and Kosovo, where elections, if they are held at all, are rigged to keep tyrants in power, people dream of that which is our birthright. Our birthright which we squander. Previous generations fought and bled and died, at Lexington and Concord and Yorktown to establish our rights, then again at Bull Run and Antietam and Gettysburg, and again at Omaha Beach and Pearl Harbor and the Bulge and Iwo Jima, and again in Korea and Vietnam, to preserve those rights. They die today in Iraq and Afghanistan, to keep our birthrights safe. And with our apathy and our laziness we spit upon their sacrifice. Men and women have died for us, and we have an obligation to their ghosts to preserve the nation they died to protect. The best way for us to fulfill that obligation is to use our rights, the most sacred and fundamental is the right to vote, to change our government.
Aaron Sorkin wrote: “Decisions are made by those who show up.” If you fail to show up, you do not have a say in the decisions that we make together. If you do not vote, then you vote for everything you oppose, and you vote against everything you support. Even more, a refusal to vote is a message to the politicians seeking to take away our rights and our freedoms: “I am a sheep. Herd me as you will.” Our entire generation is sending the politicians this message, this message that they are free to destroy our country. It is past time for us to stand up and be counted among the citizens of this country. The only way we can do that is to vote.
Why do they ignore us? They ignore us because we do not vote. The single most feared demographic to any politician is the senior citizens. If any politician angers seniors, then that politician’s career is finished. But us, they can ignore at will. Why? Because we do not vote. We have the most to lose, but we do not stand up and take charge of our government. Our government is built around the people’s control of our government. But in order to take control of what is rightfully ours, we must stand up. We must raise our hands and raise our voices and cast our votes. We must get involved. We must fulfill our birthright and take the reins of our government.