Paying Attention: Just As Important As Voting

Paying attention to politics is just as important as voting, even more when you can't vote.


by Tess Jones, Writer

I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked, “Why do you care so much about what’s happening politically, you can’t vote?”

Being someone who does care so much about what’s happening politically, this question always confuses me. Our generation has been lucky enough to be born in a time where we can make a change. In the past year, teenagers seem to have made an impression on our political world. There are 14 and 16 years olds running for governor or the survivors of Parkland starting the March for Our Lives. Yet, these students can’t even vote, and they care so much about what’s happening because it affects them. These students are doing the most when it comes to politics. The easiest thing you can do as a student is to pay attention to our world and our country’s politics. Paying attention will make your life easier and will help out our country.

Paying attention is one of the most important things to do to spark change in our world.  Nobody listens to or respects someone who doesn’t know what is happening. When you don’t pay attention to what’s happening politically, you and our generation automatically get stuck with the stereotypical, “high schoolers don’t care about anything but themselves” label. When you don’t pay attention to politics, it sets you and our generation back a step. It allows for older generations to blow us off, even when what we are saying may be correct. Older generations already believe you don’t know anything about politics, even if you do. When you don’t pay attention it just proves those older generations right.

By not knowing what is happening, you allow officials to pass laws that fill their pockets with money, and not help the people who voted for them. When you don’t pay attention, it allows things to get passed that shouldn’t be passed, paying attention puts pressure on officials to do the right thing instead of doing what will give them the most money. For example when Missouri Legislation proposed to a right-to-work law, which prohibits union security agreements between companies and workers’ unions. This means that companies would be able to higher people who aren’t part of unions which means they don’t have to give them fair wages. This bill didn’t pass because teenagers and voters paid attention to this bill. Yet when you don’t pay attention to what’s happening politicians think that nobody cares what is happening so they can then pass laws that fill their pockets with money instead of passing laws that will help.

When you don’t pay attention to what is happening you become a part of the problem, not the solution. You allow older generations to make decisions that won’t affect them, you allow laws to be passed that make our country worse. By not paying attention you allow our officials to take advantage of their position and allow things to pass that should not pass.

Paying attention is something that you can do very easily, it such involves you to take a little time every day to see what’s happening.  I subscribe to email newsletters and every day I take a little time to read through these. Besides reading the news, if that’s not your thing you can always watch or listen about politics in a podcast. You can listen to them in the car, while you’re showering or anytime. Paying attention to the news is one of the easiest things you can do in your day.

As teenagers in America, we have hit a pivotal moment where we can either quit and let our world become something we don’t want or we can stand up for what we believe in. We can only do this by first paying attention to what’s happening politically. Teenagers are the most important part of our political world because what will be passed now will affect us the most. If you don’t pay attention to what they are passing now, you will be lost when it does come for you to vote in the future. As students, we may not be able to vote for our officials, but we should be paying attention to what they are doing because in the end what officials vote on today, will affect you the most.