YOUNG VOICES: We all have a stake in our political system

2012-10-22T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: We all have a stake in our political systemBy Briana Petty
October 22, 2012 12:00 am  • 

People say that voting is a right, a privilege or a responsibility. I believe the act of voting encompasses all three of these ideas and more. Voting is at the heart of our political process. I hope you are able to vote, are registered and ready to get to the polls.

This will be the first election I am eligible to vote, and I know there are many other students across the nation paying close attention to the issues at hand. It’s no surprise that college students toss and turn with nightmares of the fruitless job-search filling their heads. That’s a shame.

My life has been blessed in many ways, but it is frustrating to grow up in an era where the vast world of possibilities is spoiled by doses of realism. (Yes, I’m an idealist). My generation grew up believing we could be artists, opera singers, doctors or archaeologists, only to find that there are startling costs to fulfilling our dreams and no guarantee of ever getting there.

Yes, there are people who go on to achieve their “dream jobs," but there are also many who become too frightened or discouraged to take that leap.

For fear of sounding like a whining youngster, I do realize that there were generations before mine that didn't have the choices and opportunities available to young people today. My older relatives did what they had to, got by with less, and learned valuable lessons along the way. There is no doubt that I am a benefactor of their hard work.

But as a nation, we should be progressing and improving the economy to create an environment where following your passion isn't questioned, but encouraged.

You're probably thinking, this is easier said than done. I agree. The economy and our political system are an absolute mess. But the act of voting is a step in the right direction.

I encourage everyone to research issues that affect you and your loved ones on a local, state, and national level. Find an issue that moves you and do something about it. Talk with family, friends, and people that have varying viewpoints and make an informed decision. We all have a stake in our political system and voting is one way to make your voice heard.

In between studying for exams and beefing up my resume, I will continue to learn about the “big issues” because I want the idealist in me to prevail. My hope is that when I tell my future children they can be anything they want to be, it will be genuine, with no strings attached.

Briana Petty of Valparaiso is a junior at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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