Visions of Youth10/30/08

Oct. 30, 2008

By Kayla Purvis

Muted votes

Only a small fraction of high school students are old enough to vote in this year’s presidential election, leaving a large number of students unable to take part in making changes.

The truth is that most high school students have opinions; we just can’t act on those opinions in the polling booths. We can voice them, talk about them, share them and even advertise them. We just can’t use them to vote. So, without a vote, do we still care? Should we care?

I say yes. Regardless of whether or not we get to vote in this election, our futures will be led by one of two leaders. Within the next four years, most of us that are in high school now will be either in college or beginning a career. Whoever our president may be is going to affect us no matter what. Our lives within the next four years are going to be impacted by whoever wins this election. That’s why we should care, even without a vote.

Some people who can vote simply don’t. I don’t really know why; I’m sure they have reasons, but my question is why not vote? So many people, like high schoolers, have opinions and know what they want … they just can’t do anything about it. If you’ve got a voice and the opportunity to have that voice make a difference, why not use it?

My history and English classes are combined every day, and the upcoming unit of study will be the election. My teachers realize that students have opinions, we have questions, and we want to be able to share them. Their goal is not only to educate us on some of the major issues, but also to give us a place to share our voices; they’re getting us involved.

Having the chance to vote is possibly the biggest and easiest way to get involved with the election, but those who can’t vote have to find other ways to be involved. I’ve seen some students wearing t-shirts that advocate for one candidate or another. And I’m sure we’ve all seen the signs planted on front lawns. But I think there are better ways than advertising to get involved.

Students should watch the presidential and vice presidential debates. We should also read or watch the interviews with both candidates. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to listen to questions that other people get a chance to ask each nominee, and hear the answers that are given. Chances are that if you have a question about or for one of the candidates, so does someone else.

If you have the chance and the opportunity to vote, you should do so. Because there are many of us who have opinions and have voices but can’t do much with them. We’re at an age where we know what’s going on in the world, and we have ideas and views that we want to be heard.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School.