Youth Of America: Let's Vote!

Youth Of America: Let's Vote!

The 2016 Election is quickly approaching, and no matter what candidate you side with, your vote is important.
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“Our opinions are not respected!” cries the damaged youth, the underdogs, the strugglers. Drowning in a sea of adult voices, the American “kids” scream out. No one hears. No one cares. Their noise is muffled by an ocean of authoritative figures, parents, elders. Every effort by the youth to reach the surface is suppressed. Maybe it is true that the opinions of America’s youth are not always welcomed, but surely it is also true that the youth have not capitalized on the opportunities granted to them.

Young American citizens, ages 13 - 29, are often regarded as lazy and apathetic, especially when it comes to voting. The youth of America are outraged, and somewhat reasonably so, at the political, economic and social standing of the country, yet many actions that could foster reform are often not taken. The people sing the song of angry men, but they are not subjects and they are not slaves. The young Americans cannot invoke change by being merely continuing to raise their voices. Their chance of being heard requires nothing more than a voter registration card.

In 1971, the time came for the youth of America to grab their opportunity by the reins and run with it — to the nearest designated polling area. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment, ratified subsequent to the war draft, lowered the voting age of American citizens from 21 to 18. Youths were granted a powerful opportunity, its impact especially evident in recent years.

According to U.S. News, the 2008 presidential election might have been considerably different without the younger vote; in fact, in both Indiana and North Carolina, Obama’s youth voters greatly outnumbered all others and ultimately caused his victory in those states.

Regardless of political standing, it is apparent that the opinions of the youth are important and influential. A revolution is occurring, but it does not involve fire, rioting or running away. It involves staying. Voting is a chance, given freely by our country; it's an opportunity wrapped in a bright red, white and blue bow, and it waits for the youth to rip away the paper each election day.

Results of elections are cold fact, but the prosperity of the nation relies on on the voters, not the contenders. A nation founded on democracy requires full voter participation in elections for success; the views of representatives are meant to reflect the majority of the nation, and youth voters broaden the spectrum of opinions with various opinions and demographics.

Less than half of youth voters actually came to the polls in the last presidential election. Studies have revealed that the youth do desire to vote, but only when those running address their interests. Young Americans will not vote if not specifically appealed to, but since the youth are statistically less likely to vote, campaigners find gearing campaigns toward the youth to be frivolous; thus, young adults are caught in a vicious cycle of under-representation as they idly stand on the sidelines. Only by the power of the youth vote will the world realize that the young are ready for reform, ready to take the reins.

Some of you may be thinking: "not every vote counts. My vote has no impact. It would be more beneficial for me to shout into the void than to show up to the polls this November.” Many lack interest in voting and cannot comprehend its purpose. Though one vote is hardly enough to turn a red state blue or a blue state red, each vote does matter. It is not just a single person rejecting the polls. It is millions.

As more and more young Americans opt out of participation in elections, the status quo conforms to the indifferent ideology. No, your vote alone will not leave the United States feeling the Bern. Your sole vote will not Make America Great Again, but each vote increases or decreases probability of outcomes, reflects the views of certain demographics, and leaves the world wondering what issues are truly important. An individual’s vote can earn the youth respect as numbers rise and cause the population to notice that the youth are not going to give up fighting for what matters. Politicians will be forced to address the topics the youth care about; they will have to campaign toward the youth, reforming the social, political and economic problems that America’s youth face. The youth vote will not set fire to the nation. It will ignite a spark.

If the youth of America wish to be heard, they must start at the ballot booth. They must feel the weight of the country — the depths of the world — on their shoulders. Young citizens, you are the future of America, a people that will soon determine the direction of the world and the fate of its people. Will you give all you can give? Will you stand up and take your chance? A massive beast does not have to be conquered for your impact to be seen. So stop screaming and struggling to be heard over the sea of voices of your elders. Vote, and make them listen.

Cover Image Credit: Getty

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

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