November 12, 2018 | ° F

OMANA: Young people have power to greatly better their futures


Opinions Column: Left Brain, Right Brain


“Register to Vote” feels like it has been plastered on every wall I have seen for months and it also feels as though I have been asked the question consistently since I began to look of age. 

College students are targeted and are pleaded to vote, but why? Yes, voting is important, but how often do we wonder about the massive impact of the votes of the youth? 

Millennials and Gen-Z-ers are proving to be very aware, outspoken and politically-charged, but still, older generations fail to take our concerns seriously. It is then up to us, and has been up to us, to make our voices heard. Politicians time and time again show that they do not listen to our voices, but instead seek policies and ideals that satisfy their own agendas. 

When thinking about the weeks leading up to these midterm elections it becomes evident why the younger generations are specifically sought out. Unless we ourselves make our voices and concerns heard through our votes, we will walk into a future that was crafted by the values of people who are older and whose values will almost never align with the values of the younger generations. Voting is always important, but especially now. 

Although there are countless teenagers and young adults who have made incredible changes and strides toward the future, there are still millions who choose not to be active in politics. Even those who do register to vote may not realize the power of voting and the responsibility we have as citizens to choose as wisley as we can. It is important to see and understand not only why we, the youth of the country, should vote, but also the power our votes have. 

Take for example Brexit. Brexit exemplifies the negative effect that young people's voter apathy has. Brexit refers to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, which made it so that those who wanted to travel and work outside the UK freely could not do so with the liberty the EU previously allowed them. 

Thebalance stated that the EU eliminates all border controls between members and allows the free flow of goods and people, except for random spot checks for crime and drugs. The EU transmits state-of-the-art technologies to its members. The areas that benefit are research and development, environmental protection and energy.

Brexit, therefore, has a tremendous impact in regard, not only to the people who wanted to work and travel outside the UK, but also to the future of the sovereign state and its environment. 

Some effects of Brexit include Britain becoming more intolerant of other races, the increasing difficulty of immigrating to the UK and the loss of 100,000 jobs from young people. 

This open border deal between multiple countries made it ideal for young people who wanted adventure and travel. Brexit, on the other hand, was an ideal option for both conservative Brits and those who wanted to strengthen the border.

The Brexit vote was close and it was reported by the Independent that if more young people had voted and if the age limit was lowered, that Brexit would not have passed. 

A young respondent said that, “It’s very frustrating for me as a 17-year-old to see decisions being made by people who will, no doubt, die within the next 10 years while I am unable to have a say. The future belongs to us, the youth.”

This teen perfectly showcases the reason why voting is so crucial, especially for the youth of the country. While many teenagers still cannot vote, there are plenty that can and have chosen to vote this November in response to the little attention that is paid to young people, to minorities, to the poor, etc. The laws and policies passed now will mostly affect the young people as those laws dictate the future we will have. 

Decisions concerning the economy, future job prospects, the rate of minimum wage, etc., will all have the biggest effect on our generation, not older ones. So why then, are so many of us choosing to either not vote, or to vote based on what our political lean tells us to without considering the morality and logistics of the actual laws and policies that a certain politician has?

Voting is both a right and a privilege, one that should not be taken lightly. Vote not just for yourself but for the betterment of everyone. It is our future and we can only have a say in it if we vote. 

Breana Omana is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in political science. Her column, "Left Brain, Right Brain," runs on alternate Tuesdays.

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Breana Omana

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