Sydney Erhardt

Sydney Erhardt is a junior at Cannon Falls High School in rural Minnesota. Competitively debating and speaking on foreign affairs for the past few years instigated an immediate interest in political policy and the daily governmental workings around her. She can be reached at syderhardt@gmail.com.

An Expanding Electorate: Connecting Government to a Critical Perspective

Posted by: Sydney Erhardt under Government, Politics Updated: August 24, 2013 - 12:27 PM

Ronald Reagan said that we should hand freedom down to our children, John Quincy Adams instructed us to prosper from our history, FDR predicted that we would rendezvous with destiny, and Kennedy thought that our nation could cultivate the best of mankind. This is what the leaders of our government have been striving for with every piece of legislation, every declaration and every speech. “We wonder,” stipulated Paul Ryan at a town hall meeting, “if we will be the first generation in American history to leave our children with fewer opportunities and a less prosperous nation than the one we inherited.” The answer to our worries is a simple one- we listen.

Democracy is a contribution of all voices. Currently, the expectation for political contribution from younger generations is startlingly low. Therefore, many youth voters feel alienated (33%) by elected officials when a majority of them (88%) were registered to vote and have voted in national elections (Hamilton College Study). What these 18-24 year olds stated held the most influence when filling out their ballot was, in fact, the issues. However, when candidates construct their platforms around the American public there appears to be a correlating increase in these younger factions’ feelings of alienation. A voice in our democracy could soon be lost.

The aim of An Expanding Electorate will be to represent Generation Y as the intelligent, cultured, and politically active group that they are. Interviewing high school students can discover the untapped opinions and ideas of a key demographic that will, one day, be the leaders of our country. If we discuss the issues surrounding Washington and the thoughts of underrepresented American citizens we will, as a nation, come together as our founding father intended and form a true democracy.

 

Hamilton College Study: http://www.hamilton.edu/news/polls/political-attitudes-of-young-americans

 
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