There are the school
politics that affect you every year such as cliques and student council elections, but in 2008 there are some politics that are going to matter a great deal Ė possibly even more than the Homecoming Queen election. 2008 is the year of the presidential elections. If youíve been living under a pile of homework, now that summer is here, you can crawl out and discover just how important it is for everyone to get involved Ė even if you canít vote.
Most of us canít vote yet, but even those who can donít. In November of 2000, only 37% of the United States voted on a presidential candidate. Iím sure the majority of Americans felt they had good cause to stay out of the voting booths that day, but I wouldnít be surprised if many more wish they had made it to the polls before the Gore/Bush race got so tight Florida votes had to be counted two or three times to clarify the winner. (Bush legitimately won in 2000 and 2004 if you didnít already know.)
Itís still not entirely clear whoíll be running for election in November of 2008, but John McCain looks to be the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate will be Barack Obama. There are also candidate for smaller parties who will run in November.
The election of 2008 will be intense. This is the first time in American history that a woman or African-American could have actually become president, but the election has just as much to do with the economy, oil and gas prices, and the war in Iraq. The president doesnít control everything, but in combination with the Supreme Court and Congress, he (or she) makes the kinds of decisions that affect The United States, the world, and you Ė at least in some small way.
Your Role in 2008
You might not be able to vote, but your parents and other relatives can. Obviously Iím not going to tell you who to vote for or against, and Iím still figuring out all the different areas of the election myself. But I do know that voting is what it all boils down to. If you have a stand on an issue Ė any issue Ė you donít have to wait until youíre eighteen to do something about it.
Help others register to vote, and encourage your family to think about the issues. There are groups that are always looking for volunteers to help with election materials and voter registrations and you might be able to work in some capacity even if youíre not able to vote in the election youíre helping with.
Write letters, send emails and help shed light on important issues in your town and state. You might not be able to vote, but that doesnít mean you have to be silent. Everyone has a political voice. If you want to use yours, you just have to find it and make it heard.