As a seventeen year old, who has always been too young to care about politics, why should I, or anyone under eighteen show interest in that adult, far off world? I am too young to vote in the next election. I am not independent; I am living with my parents like any high schooler. Do I pay taxes? No. Yet somehow, now, having listened to political podcasts on the weekends for the past couple months and participating in class activities, I have learned why I should have been paying attention to government, politics, and citizenship much sooner.
Going into my first GPC class, I did not know much about politics. Of course, I knew the names of the presidential candidates, but I did not know their policies or what they were actually saying. Luckily, the majority of political news is revolving around the 2016 presidential election. This has been great for my personal education and introduction into politics. There are countless factors and elements to learn about that comprise the presidential election process: candidates, primaries, polls, speeches, etc.. Prior to my government class, I did not know how any of these things played roles in the election. The reason this knowledge is so important is because being informed on topics that affect everyone is necessary to understand society. What is going to change in the next four years of my life?
One way to get an insight into those years is to see what the presidential candidates are saying. Right now, the two frontrunners of this election are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with Bernie Sanders trailing Hillary. By learning what these two main candidates are saying, I gain valuable insight into what my life and world may be like in four years. A lot of people say Trump would be the downfall of our country, but in reality, despite a controversial start to his campaign, he is becoming a more moderate candidate. As for Hillary Clinton, accusations have been held over her head, but she has continued to show promise throughout her campaign. I continue to ask myself how will this candidate affect my life in the future as I learn more about them.
Even though I can not vote in this next presidential election or in any election at all, there are still ways I can get involved in politics. Multiple of my classmates have volunteered for their local congressman or other. In the local campaign simulation, my team and I handled the issues of C.J. Potts and gained insight into how campaigns handle press releases, hit pieces, and general strategy. From this, I learned what may be going on behind the scenes in my own local area. From this simulation and knowing what opportunities are out there, I am given a chance to possibly pursue one of these ventures involving local politics. Perhaps, this is my job as a citizen; to understand what is going on around me and do something to contribute.
I have also learned of current events that involve issues that have the potential to directly affect me. For example, there has been debate over privacy when Apple refused to comply with FBI orders to open the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Although the issue has since been resolved, this is a prime example of news and politics that affects me. If something happens, I want my personal information, if locked away, to be protected. Whether it be in a safe or on an electronic device. However, living in our world, seeing how nothing is truly able to be kept private, I must be cautious as to what I want on my phone or laptop.
Politics, especially right now, are interesting. Presidential debates feature heated arguments, ridiculous comments, and good political information. Is this the best for our nation’s image? No. Is this entertaining? Yes. In class, I find that everyone is constantly laughing. There is always something that sparks out and catches the attention of the class. An example of some interesting politics can be found here. Politics are not always dry as one could assume.
There is also a practical reason for why I or anyone under 18 should be paying attention to what is going on in the government. The US citizens that are between ages of 18-24 have the lowest voter turnouts of any eligible age group. This may be because this age group is not well informed. It is important to learn about politics before it is time to vote. This way every voice and demographic will be heard.
Throughout my time in GPC I have learned the basics of our politics. I have realized the important, encompassing nature of politics. All in thanks to GPC, I can excitedly say that I understand what is going on and I am ready to learn more.
FBI vs Apple:
Donald and Hilary: