We rely on our parents for everything throughout our childhood. They continue to guide us through our teenage years influencing us socially, psychologically, morally and politically. The current seniors and some juniors will have their first opportunity to vote in a presidential election but most of them, 70 percent, will vote exactly like their parents, according to Gallup.com
As we grow older, our parents show us videos, books, and articles focusing on what they want us to know, while failing to show us what they don’t. They don’t provide us with the necessary information to create our own political views. For example, if a conservative family only shows their children the Republican debates, then the children will never learn about the Democratic party or their candidates. Whether the family influence is Democratic or Republican, these children grown up misinformed and unaware. We are then led blindly to the ballot by our parents while they whisper in our ear and tell us who to vote for. What we don’t know can be more dangerous than what we do.
Recently I was talking to a 9th grader about the presidential candidates. I asked him who he supported; he said Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. I asked him to name one policy that he supports of Sanders, but he knew none. He just stood looking at me with a blank, red face. This is an example of how many young people are so strongly influenced by parents and friends that they don’t even research the issues, policies, or candidates they are being told to trust and support.
It is very important to pay attention to and be well-informed about both sides, Republican or Democrat, regardless of your parents’ opinions. It is also important to really think about who you’re voting for and not vote on impulse or influence. Even if you are not voting in this presidential election, it is still important to stay informed. And, all 9th-12th graders will be voting in the next election.
“My dad is a Republican and I’m a Democrat. Once I started getting into politics and watching the news I starting arguing with him more and more about different issues. I mainly learned about politics from the news, books, articles, and videos online,” said freshman Sareen Bekerian.
A great way for those who are voting, but who don’t follow the news, to decide who to vote for is the online “I Side With” quiz, on www.isidewith.com/political-quiz. This quiz asks you questions about your opinions on foreign and domestic policy, immigration, social, criminal, economic, science, environmental, electoral, educational, and healthcare issues. Also, if you do not know enough information about the issue, the site provides a summary. Then it shows you which candidate you agree with most on these issues. You can also compare and contrast your answers with theirs. You can see your ideology, political themes, as well as have discussions with others in your area. It also provides news updates on the candidates and the race.
Once you do your own research on a topic, you can open yourself up to a whole new set of opinions that may influence you as a voter. But, it is the voter’s responsibility to do the research for themselves because without it, they will be closed off from a whole world of information.
No matter which candidate you think, or know you want to elect in this presidential race, it is essential that before you cast your vote that you sincerely study, think about and know all the information necessary to choose a president that will represent you as an individual and a citizen of the United States of America.