It is no longer a surprise to see self-proclaimed political enthusiasts—particularly those born in the new millennium—voicing their views on current issues over social media. Gone are the days when young adults would spend hours standing at street corners as they shout into megaphones to encourage resistance against governmental regulation.
While protests are undoubtedly as present as they always have been, it appears most prefer to sit and rant behind the screens of their smartphones, tablets, and computers. What little is achieved by this, one can only guess. How can one be truly politically informed if their only exposure to politics exists virtually? Without external involvement, there is no way to ensure the truth of what is published online.
There was once a time when movements strictly required supporters to attend in-person meetings and participate in events. Nowadays, petitions are signed online preventing individuals the opportunities to question petitioners about their initiatives. Of course, there are many clean-cut 'helpful' videos provided for those on the fence. However, society proves consistently guilty of belittling the basic human need for face-to-face communication such as, the opportunity to watch a petitioner's face falter when being questioned from a certain angle giving way to their doubts in the very cause they supposedly support.
The gradual fall of modern political involvement dates back to the early 90s, a time in which community service programs sprouted nationwide that required high school students to complete approximately 40-60 hours of volunteer work in order to graduate.
As with anything, once something becomes required, it tends to no longer be considered enjoyable. For example, academic institutions are notorious for their tedious reading assignments causing many former booklovers to burnout thus leading them to detest the idea of reading for leisure much less cracking open a textbook.
With this, it is not the government's responsibility to influence the interests of our youth. A teenager aspiring to become a veterinarian will certainly relish volunteering at their local humane society by viewing it as getting their foot in the door of the career they strive to obtain rather than shoveling animal feces every day in order to resentfully satisfy a high school requirement.
Perception has been proven to be the leading motivational factor in young adults. By requiring them to partake in community service, we rob them of their right to freedom of choice. Those with ambition will naturally act upon it of their own accord. Depriving them of this privilege may result in a lack of appetite for furthered participation in social concerns that once interested them.
At best, most of our youth are now lead to perform as virtual activists from afar rather than offer in-person contributions to a noble cause. If we seek change within society and the way our government is run, we must act upon it, become qualified, and use our platforms for the greater good. A legislator will not seriously take into consideration the views expressed in a sixteen-year-old's ill-informed outburst on social media. So why not become the legislator?