This post will be my final one for the summer. As such, I have decided to break my usual formula. Instead of talking about an issue in the community, I will instead do my best to talk about politics, democracy, and my summer employer.
People ask me why I want to go into politics. Most of them have few if any political aspirations themselves, some of them are disillusioned from working in close proximity to government, and a few probably think I’m crazy. In my mind, however, there couldn’t be a more obvious choice for me. Government is in my life to stay. It is in the roads that I drive on and the food that I eat. It will come out of my paycheck and into my Social Security (hopefully). I spend most of my waking hours in a government building, and I sleep next to government land. I figure that as long as government is going to have a say in my life and the lives of my friends, family, and community, then I had better have a say in government. Even further, I think government is a good thing. I like government, and I have faith in its potential.
I am more than willing to admit government has its problems, serious ones at that. Addressing inequality, intolerance, and ignorance in and out of government is paramount to the success of America and Americans. Fortunately, this summer, I was introduced to another entity that shares my passion for good government: the League of Women Voters. The League was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt to be an organization that demanded voters “play a critical role in democracy,” just months before the 19th amendment was ratified. Since then, the League has sponsored presidential debates, gained recognition at the United Nations, and championed a variety of legislation aimed at expanding voting rights and voter participation in democracy.
The mission of the League has always been important, and that is no less true today. Well under half of eligible American citizens vote more than once or twice every four years. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, and corporate money in politics are all serious threats to democracy that the League plays a crucial role in combating. Americans from all walks of life need to be encouraged and enabled to be active citizens and voters.
As a 17-year-old male who will not be able to vote in November and thus identifies as not even one of the three nouns in the name of the League of Women Voters, I cannot write how grateful I am to have been given a platform to share my ideas this summer. Communication is key to encouraging people to participate in democracy and encouraging those already participating in democracy to work together. I hope that everyone who read my blog this summer can agree with at least something I mentioned. I also hope that everyone got tripped up once or twice. It is important to not agree every so often because no one can be right all of the time. Democracy is founded on the principle that when people with valid opinions, research, and logical arguments all sit down together, everyone will emerge a little bit smarter and a little bit better, and the country will as well.
As I close out this summer’s blogs, I want to thank everyone who has commented on my blogs, in person and online. Your advice, suggestions, and critiques are much appreciated.
As time is short, and weeks are numbered, I did not write about everything I wanted to this summer. Those interested in other issues that I never got to may find it worth exploring the dairy crisis, the dangers of poor broadband connectivity for schools, and the need for skilled workers and technical institutes in Pennsylvania.
Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Have a nice life.