Hey you, college students!
College’s the best time of your life. I know plenty of you are out there, talking about politics among yourselves for November 2008. Some of you support McCain, some of you support Obama, and there’s a good chance that a strong percentage of you support Ron Paul also.
Personal values, political beliefs, and leanings are always the main contributing factors in who we choose to support in politicians. Still, statistics have shown that certain politicians have the ability to galvanize the youth vote. Such examples would include Bobby Kennedy in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1984, Howard Dean in 2004 Democratic Primaries, Ron Paul in 2008, and Barack Obama in 2008.
However, youth participation in politics is far more important than merely being interested in the subject of American elections and being attracted to certain candidates for their appeal to the youth. Politics and voting is a BEHAVIOR. As with all kinds of behavior throughout life, it’s something that’s learned and becomes a habit so the earlier you start, the greater your impact will be in your life. Statistics have shown that the younger age that a person votes, the more likely that voting will become a regular behavior for that same person.
When you vote at the earliest age possible (18+) and actually get yourself involved with the political process of America, your impact is much more important than you may realize. It goes beyond personal impact and responsibility; you can affect your friends (think: Pay It Forward-style chain of events) and they can affect their friends. I have personally seen the impact of this inspiring “Get Out the Vote” mentality among my fellow classmates and friends and let me tell you, it’s truly the best feeling ever… To know that you are actually making a difference.
It’s like the Domino Effect. By next election, the impact is greater and by next election after that, it’s bigger and so on. And since you’re connected to the deaf community, your impact jumps several level higher. Everybody knows that the deaf world is a small world and generational differences count for a lot. If the young deaf people are able to encourage each other and spontaneously mobilize their friends into voters or volunteers, it has the potential to turn into a long-term behavior. Eventually deaf people may become a voting bloc through just simple interest, participation, and behavior of one very important generation: the YOUTH!!
So you get the rhetoric and you’re fired up! Where do you start? College students can set up College Democrats of America (CDA) chapter or a Young Republican National Federation (YR) chapter. I’ve registered myself online with both of the organizations, CDA and YR, and I receive regular email updates from both organizations. You can contact the national organizations for youth political activism and lobby for a bi-lingual or Deaf caucuses. And while you’re at it you’re promoting awareness of your issues. You can create spaces for political interaction such as organizations, debate watch parties, voter registration drives, and volunteering together in political campaigns.
Last but not least, sign up to be part of Deaf Youth USA!
(Photos courtesy of the following websites: