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Taylor Johnston and Ellen Wagner make important decisions about the Post in the editors' office on the evening of Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

Editorial: Take part in the political process

The past few years have been a lot politically, leaving many out of the political process. Young Americans feel left behind by the two-party system and are wary of traditional politicians, with young people planning to vote at a lower rate in the presidential election this fall than they did in 2020. 

As today’s college students became eligible to vote, American politics became more complicated; two hard splits were occurring within both the Republican and Democratic parties. 

The current political climate is not just polarized but muddled. It is hard to begin when there is no clear place to start.

In 2020, 48% of adults aged 18-24 voted in the U.S. presidential election, this being the lowest voter turnout of any age group but very high for the demographic. For so many young people to passionately disapprove, regardless of party, of what our government is doing and then not vote, is not productive or conducive to change.

Young Americans need to swallow their pride, ask questions, not be afraid of being wrong and ultimately participate in both local and national government. 

The system will go on regardless if millennials and Gen Z vote. The responsibility of voting, therefore, that younger generations share with the rest of the population remains the same. It is better to attempt to make an impact and not succeed than to not try at all.

The immense sense of apathy toward the American political process and climate coming from the younger generations can only be expected given the hand they have been dealt: a planet that may be past the point of climate recovery, government corruption at the highest it's been in a decade, mass shootings that are less surprising than ever, a resurgence of violent extremist sentiments and general confusion about the economy.

However, there are people who are making decisions about these things, and they are not just the president. Getting involved and voting locally is much more powerful than only coming out for the presidential election even if it means needing to do a little more research on specific candidates and issues. Local politics will have much more of a direct impact than the presidential election. Information on Ohio representatives and senators can be found here.

Still, all hope is not lost on younger generations, specifically, students who proved their capacity for political involvement by the overwhelming turnout in Athens to pass Issues 1 and 2. 12,583 people voted “yes” on Issue 1 while 12,096 voted “yes” on Issue 2.

In the near future, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for students to get further politically involved. Locally, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson recognizes the need for more affordable housing in Athens, and voters can help hold plans accountable. The Ohio Primary also will be held on Tuesday, March 19, and students can vote locally or in their hometowns. It is also possible to register to vote online in Ohio using this link.

Even when it doesn’t feel like it, the government is supposed to work for the people, not vice versa. 

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