If you have followed the 2016 U.S. Presidential race at all during the past few months, you've probably asked yourself, "How did we get here?" The greatest country in the world is choosing between two extremely flawed candidates, and it's our own fault. The harsh reality is that the majority of Americans, especially those that are 18-24, are apathetic to U.S. politics and the issues that face America. Instead, we rather tune into "Keeping up with the Kardashians" or play the newest video game. And unlike a cable TV subscription or the newest video game, political participation and awareness are free. They cost nothing, except in reality they mean everything to the direction of a country. The apathy towards politics in the United States has not only created a country of ignorance, but one that has extremely misplaced priorities.
In 2012, 53.6% of the voting age population within the United States casted its vote in the presidential election. In comparison to countries worldwide, this isn't a horrific turnout, however for the United States of America, a country founded by political activists, it is quite demoralizing. And now in 2016, I cannot help but partially contribute the rise of Donald Trump and the endurance of Hilary Clinton to the profound apathetic nature of the American people. Believe it or not, the people of United States wield a lot of political power, however, we have to exercise that power. And when we do exercise that power, whether it be through voting, staying up to date on current issues facing the U.S. and the world, or even simply bringing up an important issue in a class discussion, we have the power to change the course of history.
By no means do all Americans have to be political activists, but they should exercise the political rights they are given by their country. And with these rights comes the responsibility of the people to stay informed and educate themselves on issues that face millions of people. If we completely abandon our civic duty to learn and address the issues that face our country, how can we ever improve our country as a whole?
From the wise words of Martin Luther King, "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Let us avoid this danger and become involved individuals that challenge one another, not to disregard, but improve one another for the well-being of our country as a whole.