Why Political Conversations aren't Something That I Dabble in Frequently

“In addition to being (obviously) the laziest, most narcissistic and most entitled generation ever, millenials have claimed for themselves yet another generational superlative: least likely to vote” (Rampell).

According to an article written by Cathrine Rompell in The Washington Post, our generation of “millenials” doesn’t impress the rest of the voting population. Political conversations can be awkward and somewhat uninformed on college campuses. Many students are so uncomfortable around politics that they’ll not only avoid the topic but also the voting booth.

Voting is a recent responsibility for most of us, and the political world can be an  intimidating one for us to enter into. The importance of the young vote isn’t something that we’re unfamiliar with. Our US history teachers have emphasized the impact that we stand to make, but unless it’s an SNL skit, we seem uninterested. Maybe our parents are right, our attention spans are far too short, and we’re under the impression that we are “too cool for politics.” Unless there’s a catchy tagline for us to cling to, we don’t seem to be interested. With a slogan like “Feel the Bern” or “Hope for Change,” how can you not get on board?  

I’m sure that most of us are well aware of the “my vote won’t make a difference” mentality. That type of indifference seems to make up a huge portion of our student population. This developing  mindset has convinced us that our vote is unimportant. This attitude is probably what Rompell considered “lazy” in her article; it seems that, rather than acting as an explanation for why a student won’t vote, pessimism is becoming an excuse.

This apathy is shown by the large amount of us who aren’t even registered to vote yet. Some of us didn’t turn 18 until we got to college, and at that point we didn’t really have a “permanent address” to register to. Others who don’t think their vote will make a difference haven’t registered simply because they know they won’t vote. I myself didn’t end up registering to vote for months after my 19th birthday.

Another issue contributing to the lack of votes from our generation is the information we’re provided with on a daily basis. The media is constantly bombarding us with reports on the elections, much of which is heavily biased. Whether it’s an extremist family member posting all over Facebook, or a FOX news anchor, there’s a lot of conflicting claims fighting for our attention. So do you just hop onto one of their bandwagons? Or do you take the time to research the facts behind each candidate?

Between our short attention spans, our apparent laziness and all the biased information that constantly floods our brains, many of us have felt discouraged by politics. We’re aware what a difference we can make, but a huge percent of us either don’t care or don’t think that our opinions matters. This isn’t a way of thinking that will go away overnight. We can definitely work on it though, and the coming elections provide the perfect opportunity to do so. Let’s prove Cathrine Rompell wrong to call us lazy. Take the time to do your research and cast your vote this year.

I, for one, am not a huge fan of confrontation, so I don’t really argue with my friends about politics. The last thing I want is to lose a close friend over something like my uninformed political opinion. Since they’re considered “opinions” I’ll leave your beliefs to you, as long as you don’t shove your views down my throat either. From what I’ve gathered from my friends, they feel a similar way about the topic, and just don’t feel like politics are “up their alley.”

Another reason that college students avoid politics is that people get so annoying about them on social media. It’s irksome seeing uninformed political claims on social media, and most of us just really don’t want to be that person. The people who post ad nauseam usually have a very strong opinion one way or the other, while many other students are too busy studying and going to Starbucks to voice their thoughts on politics. On top of posting on social media, the only other immediate source of political information is from biased news channels. I don’t pretend to be more informed about politics than I am. I’m not even sure how to file my taxes, how am I supposed to know who should run a country? Like many other students, I haven’t looked in depth at a lot of political issues, and I can’t really make an informed claim about whose opinions are right or wrong.

This isn’t a blanket-rule for every student. A lot of you are so aware that the rest of us are just too intimidated by you guys to have an intelligent conversation on the matter. The majority of the rest of us know the basics; Hillary and Bernie are the front-runners for the Democratic primaries, while Trump is somehow still representing the GOP. Many of you have also looked into their stances on different social and economic policies, but most of us aren’t experts on any of the candidates. Additionally, a huge portion of our generation is sort of bored by politics. We’ve been told that they’re important by every US history teacher ever, but unless it’s an SNL skit, we have sort of short attention spans.

Students are well aware of how important it is for the young vote to be an active one in the coming elections. We’re a hugely percentage of the US population, and it’s important to take part in politics as much as possible. I’m sorry that I’m not more informed on the topic, but like a lot of you guys, I’m just not into the politics thing, even though I know I should be.

Rampell, Cathrine. "Where Are All the Young Voters?" Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 July