Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Civic Duty

In my Comp I classes, I tried to talk to them about the upcoming elections. My theme for the semester is various trends in society, and our recent discussion lead to trends in the election. In my MWF class, the discussion went well and the students seemed fairly well informed; the same cannot be said for my TR classes. Many of the students admitted that they had no interest, but the majority of them did say that they planned to vote.

Some of the students who said that they did not plan to vote surprised me because they will tell me that they are big supporters of Obama. I wonder how many supporters of Obama, especially young supporters, are like my students. Obama may have the support, but unless those people go vote, the election may not turn out the way they hope it will. Do they think that wishing someone to be president is enough?

When I asked my students why they did not plan to vote or why they were not interested, many of them said that they just did not care or that they found the process boring and confusing. In my second class today, some said that they would be more likely to vote if the drinking age was lowered and if certain illegal substances were made legal. I don't think that they saw the irony of their stance. If they want these changes to take place, then they need to work on voting people into office who will make these changes, but if they choose not to vote, then those who are against these changes and who do vote will control what happens.

It's amazing to think about how much power our vote has. I told my students in my second class today that I think they should raise the voting age. This got them all up in arms, which is also ironic, but the more I think about it, the more I think it would be a good idea. Few eighteen year olds really understand what is involved in living life. They often do not own property, and while they work, they are not making enough money to see the real impact of taxes on their paychecks. They hear the impressive campaing promises and think that life will suddenly become even easier, but they do not think about where the money will come from to fulfill these promises. They do not realize that if taxes are increased, there will be fewer jobs, not more. At least then there will be more welfare programs, so they will be taken care of.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you! You make a very good point. I'd love to hear what else comes of these discussions with your students.

dksnyder said...

I completely agree with raising the legal voting age. Life perspective changes so much from 18 to 21.

paconard said...

Yes, the perspective certainly changes. When I mentioned my thoughts to my MWF class, they too reacted somewhat strongly, though they did at least ask why I thought the age should be raised and I think that some of them agreed with my reasons or at least felt they were valid.