Whenever politics is brought up in a conversation, it’s always a “grown-up” thing. Something that only adults talk about, something that is too controversial and confusing to understand. For this reason, so many kids stray away from educating themselves about it or getting involved with politics in any way.
While politics can be extremely controversial, it is something that won’t go away anytime soon. And as political polarity plagues our country, it becomes increasingly important that youth across the nation advocate for important political issues and become involved in any way that they can.
As youth, we are not only a core part of society but of the next generation. It is high time for us to stand up for what we believe in and make our voices heard. Yet, a common statement among many high schoolers is that “My vote won’t mean anything” or “What’s the point? It doesn’t affect us.”
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We not only make up a relatively large fraction of the population, but the youth vote is extremely powerful. If we all voted, we have the power to sway an election.
According to census data analyzed by the Brookings Institute, millennials and some of Gen Z make up about 37% of eligible voters, roughly the same share of the electorate as baby boomers and pre-boomers.
There are various ways for youth to become involved in politics. Here are some five easy ways:
1. Educate yourself and others
Learning about candidates and political issues is such an instrumental thing in growing one’s involvement in politics. Information about candidates and the issues that they are passionate about are often readily available if you simply look up the candidates’ names. There are also often lots of information and news articles available about political issues. A simple Google search should do the trick. However, when researching, be aware of biases and which way news outlets lean on the political spectrum.
2. Have conversations with your friends and family
Being involved in politics is all about being educated on issues and candidates. By having conversations with those around you, you not only spread knowledge about these political issues, but you also get to hear other people’s perspectives. The political landscape is extremely partisan and the importance of being able to listen and understand other people’s views cannot be overemphasized.
3. Join political clubs at your school or in your community
Often, many schools have clubs dedicated to advocating for a certain political party or for a certain political issue. Joining these clubs are a great way to meet like-minded people and to work with others with similar ideals. For high schoolers, some of the biggest political organizations are the High School Democrats of America and Teenage Republicans. Both are chapter-based organizations and are great ways for high school students to have an entry into politics.
4. Phonebank for a candidate
If there is a particular candidate that you want to win, phone bank for them! This is a way for people like you to educate voters about a candidate’s platform and to potentially get them to vote for your candidate. If you ask the person arranging the phone bank, you might also be able to get volunteer hours for it! Simply look up “Phonebank for (your candidate)” on Google and get started!
5. Volunteer for a political campaign
Political campaigns are all about outreach and oftentimes, these campaigns are always looking for people to help them out. Look up the candidate that you’re interested in volunteering for and go to their website. If there is a “Get Involved” tab, click on that and look into ways to join. If not, there will usually be an email, and feel free to send them an email about yourself and your interest in helping them.
These five ways are just some of many ways to become more involved with politics and to learn more about it. Youth are such an integral part of our society and more so, politics. The more young people that become involved, the better. Though many of us are under 18, we can still do our part to ensure that we’re making our voices heard and our opinions voiced. Youth need to be involved in politics and these are just some ways to do so.