Why Politics are Crucial to Know as a Teenager in America


Kirsten Schneider, Writer, Editor

In today’s society, many teenagers are divided when it comes to politics. Some can’t name our main political parties or more than 5 presidents, but others are more aware when it comes to politics. They know what’s going on in D.C., and they use social media to stand up for what they believe in. Many (and most) teenagers, do not care about politics. They truly believe that politics don’t apply to them being a teenager, and that they don’t care because politics are “boring”. Politics may be boring to some, maybe most, but they are something everyone needs to know, at least the basic principles.

The common statement I hear as a teenager is, “I’m not old enough to vote, therefore, politics don’t matter to me and I don’t care”. You must be 18 years old to vote, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until you turn 18 to start caring about your future. In school, we do learn a bit about politics in our government and history classes, but not enough. Personally, I feel like teachers do not stress the importance of politics and voting. Teenagers need to be taught these things early, rather than be responsible to learn them once they graduate, because some will be unaware of the effect it may have on their future. Voting changes everything. Every single vote counts. Politicians actually target young voters, especially ones that will soon be registering to vote, so that they can receive a vote for them in their next election. Politicians listen to these outspoken teenagers speak passionately on what they believe in, and sometimes they listen! Some teenagers are a bit more outspoken today than they used to be. If you don’t know what parties you align with, or what your core values are, RESEARCH! You can take actual intelligent quizzes online that ask you a series of questions in regards to what you believe in. An accurate one that I recommend would be www.isidewith.com/political-quiz.

The common question I hear is “my vote doesn’t even matter … what’s the point?” That mindset is false … every single vote does matter and does count. Once you turn 18, you get the opportunity to register to vote. You can register as a Republican, Democrat, or an Independent. The Republican party leans more Conservative, The Democratic party leans more Liberal, and registering as an Independent means you can vote for whichever party you desire, but you can’t vote in the Primaries. You can vote for Governors, Senators, state/local Representatives, school board members, the President and Vice President, plus even more public officials. Voting for the person that shares the same core values as you and benefits you and your family in the long run, is pretty crucial. If you don’t vote, you’re not allowing yourself to have a voice in American politics. You aren’t fighting for your rights. If the person that wins the election (that you didn’t vote in), believes in the complete opposite things you do, and will affect America negatively, you can’t complain in the future. You should’ve exercised your right to vote when you had the chance.

Is every vote counted in general elections? Absolutely. When you go to cast your vote, you’re actually voting for a group called electors. The number of electors your state receives is equal to its total number of Senators and Representatives in Congress. Each elector casts one vote following the election. The candidate who gets 270 votes or more, wins. Your vote is also counted for state and county wide elections, but more directly and personal.

Yes, you may not be able to vote now being underage, but you need to be aware what’s going on in the world of politics. You also need to be aware of what your core values are, and what you truly believe in. I promise, it’ll do more harm than good if you’re unaware. Take 10 or less minutes to take the quiz I listed, that’s how you’ll know. Don’t listen to others if they make fun of you for being politically aware. I became intelligent in the topic of politics starting in 8th grade, I got made fun of constantly. I didn’t really care about being made fun of for that, because I knew something others didn’t at such a young age. Now they’re struggling in their U.S. History and Government/Economics classes.

All of this will be important to you someday, if it’s not now. If you care about your future and your family, care about simple things like politics. A vote for one politician, could affect your future positively or negatively. You decide what you want.