Your 18th birthday is a stepping stone in your life because with that age, a door is opened with more mature responsibilities. Once you’re 18 you can go clubbing, buy lottery tickets, buy sharpies and paint thinner, order products from infomercials and open a bank account.
But more importantly, you are eligible to vote.
The high school class of 2012 has an advantage because 2012 is an election year and we will be able to help elect our next president. But do 18-year-olds really even care about the elections? I set out to ask some peers who are 18.
“I do care about the elections this year," Collin Tate said. "I feel like our government isn’t doing well and 18-year-olds are the largest part of the population that are eligible, so a large part of what happens to America in our future is on our shoulders. Being able to vote is the ultimate way to voice your opinion in what happens to our country, and not being able to vote is what has brought down many countries in the past.”
At 18, there is an enormous amount of pressure put on teens to vote and most of the time the decision on who to vote for is chosen because of the influence of a parent and not who we, as new adults, really want to run our country.
“I think it’s easier to vote at 18 because we're barely starting to go out into the world on our own," Debby Garcia said, "and are still optimistic and believe in our government. So we can honestly vote on what would make us happy. Honestly, I'm excited to be able to vote even though I doubt it will make much of a difference, I just want a better economy.”
It seems that many teenagers are laid back and optimistic about the elections, but others are often more opinionated.
“I don’t particularly care about the elections this year," Bradley Beck said, "because all of the Republican candidates aren’t anything special, especially Rick Perry. And Obama continues to make empty promises that will never happen because of conflicting House and Senate interests. The most important part about being able to vote is the responsibility to choose the person most capable for progressing America towards a better future, and that’s why voters should actually know who they are voting for as opposed to blindly choosing someone because of ignorance.”
Although the presidential elections seem to be all over the news, there are still local elections in places like Collin County.
“I’m very involved in the presidential race,” Tate said. “But I don’t really apply myself to the local voting. National politics just interest me more.”
With candidates starting to campaign at full force, many teens start taking sides on who they might vote for, and others not so much.
“I honestly have no idea who I would vote for as of right now,” Garcia said. “I'd have to look into them when I have time, and that’s the bad part about politics. Americans never have time to pay attention.”
Having the privilege to vote is one of many responsibilities that comes with age, and although many teens seem naïve and uninterested in the campaigns there are also plenty of others who are very involved and determined to try and make a difference with our generation.
“As an 18-year-old people think that I don’t know politics and I feel like everyone is trying to get a second vote for their candidate from me by pushing their beliefs one me.” Tate said. “I feel like voting almost gives me stature over the people my age who don’t care.”
TSB contributor Christine Baker's Teen Talk column appears Fridays.