“You’re young; politics don’t even affect you yet.”
“You probably just listen to what your parents say and count those views as your own.”
I’ve heard variations of these phrases countless times. Whether from my peers or adults, it’s disheartening because, in my case, it isn’t true.
If I’m old enough to care, why am I too young to merit the respect that my views are my own, and not just derived from my parents?
In some ways, it’s reasonable to say that my parents have had influence on my political beliefs. They raised me on a certain system of beliefs and disciplines – non-political and political – and those have impacted my entire identity. But now that I’m old enough to have my own opinions, I don’t take my parents’ words as the absolute truth. I do my own research: I read, I listen, I watch the world around me and form my political feelings based on how I personally feel about issues, not on how I’ve been told to feel about them.
Having a Democrat as a mom and Republican as a dad is a major part of how I’ve found my political identity. Their opposition has benefitted me – it’s taught me to always evaluate all sides of an issue. Instead of forming opinions based on what I want to hear, I look at the issue from both a liberal and conservative perspective, and then decide how I personally feel about it. I don’t think this is the situation with a lot of students at East, which disappoints me. It seems that most of our student body feels conditioned to have the same views as their parents, whether those views have legitimate backing or not.
I’ve seen this in many of our school’s debates conducted by Mr. Muhammad: students will make insulting assertions that have clearly been ingrained into their brains by their parents. I’ve heard the words “Liberals just want to take our hard-earned money away” many times by students who have never worked a day in their life, but have just heard this phrase uttered by their parents since the age that they were old enough to repeat it. I wish these students would pay better attention to the world around them to notice that what they’re repeating needs to be backed by evidence, or not said at all.
Because we’ve all grown up with some sort of influence from our parents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that what they say is the truth. But this can all be changed: our generation needs to utilize the many resources we have to form our own opinions on issues. When young adults broaden their informational database, they will be more likely to weigh both sides of an issue before making decisions.
We are the future of America, and we need to be informed in order to make our country as dignified as possible. Taking the time to weigh different viewpoints and explore alternatives may not seem favorable to most teenagers and young adults, but this is our country, and it’s up to our generation to make informed decisions. These decisions are what will move us forward and make our generation unique, not just a repeat of our parents’ generation.
I’m legally an adult and will be voting in the upcoming election. I’ll be voting for the same candidate as my democratic mom and stepdad, but I like to consider my vote as non-partisan. I’m casting my vote based on who I believe will impact our country in the greatest way possible and who best represents my personal social beliefs.