Issues in the news and their impact here at home
We are now looking at the “midterm elections” (between presidential/Congressional elections). It seems appropriate here to focus on the important educational opportunities posed by elections, rather on their specific political consequences.
While I have been flooded with funding requests from political parties, individual candidates, and interest groups, they pay far less attention to those too young to vote.
However, what better opportunities do we as community leaders, educators, and parents have to prepare these younger people for one of the most important duties of democracies?
While at age 18 each of these young people will be extended the right to vote, many are unprepared to execute this right responsibly.
This is, however, an excellent opportunity to educate youth.
As confusing and contradictory as the press coverage of elections may be, read the political issues in the newspapers and watch the TV coverage of political election coverage.
Try to identify political issues which might be of interest to young people from funding for schools to international armed conflicts and remind them how each of these issues can be influenced by presidential and Congressional elections, as some are by local elections.
While often young people tend to be critical of political figures, this is a good opportunity to show how each of these politicians at the national and local levels was put in office by ordinary voters.
Perhaps, select a single issue which might be of interest to a still non-voting youngster and illustrate how the upcoming voting might impact that issue.
Most importantly, show how our path of democracy has given them personal responsibility.
Unlike in various aspects of life, the power of a single vote by an 18 year old, is as powerful as the vote of the head of a bank, or a university professor.
Perhaps you can explain how you decide how you determine for whom you will be voting and how you make that decision.
Voting, selecting own representatives at local state, and federal levels is a privilege, but also an obligation for those who wish to make democracy work.
(John Reppert is an Anna native and former editor of The Gazette-Democrat. He served in the U.S. Army, rising from the rank of private to brigadier general. He earned a PhD in international relations and taught at the University of Maryland. He also served as the executive director of research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com.)