How to Inspire Young People to Engage in Politics

Ask young people if they would ever consider running for office and this is what you will hear:

  • Politicians are just liars.
  • Most politicians are hypocrites. People in politics are hypocritical.
  • It’s about lying, cheating, doing anything. That’s not how I want to spend my time.
  • I don’t even want to think about a political career. I would rather have milk than run for office.

These are not theoretical answers. Those are just a few of the more than 4,000 high school students we interviewed in research for our new book, Running from Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned to Politics. Having grown up in a political environment characterized by racism, gridlock, gridlock and scandal, the majority of 13- to 25-year-olds view the political system as a dead end. good, broken and fair. As a result, nine out of ten people will not even think of running for office. They will choose to spend their lives doing something else. This should raise alarm about the health of democracy. The United States has more than half a million elective positions.

Most of the people who become candidates for office do not save their lives without thinking about politics, they wake up one morning and decide to throw their hat in the ring. This idea has been widespread for a long time, often since childhood. In the final chapter of the book, we offer a set of recommendations that can boost political will and help shape new trends. Here, we summarize three of them. These are all large-scale efforts that will require significant investment and deep commitment from government officials, entrepreneurs, educators and activists. But everyone has the power to change the attitude of the youth towards politics. At the very least, we hope to spark a national conversation about how to show the next generation that politics isn’t just about misbehaving men in capital cities.

1. Creating the YouLead Initiative

Since John F. Kennedy signed the law in 1961 establishing the Peace Corps, the organization has sent hundreds of thousands of Americans abroad “to meet the most pressing needs of the people of the world.” . AmeriCorps has mobilized 800,000 Americans to meet similar housing needs. And Teach for America has recruited thousands of citizens to “build the movement to eliminate educational inequality.” Together, these programs send a strong signal that the government values ​​public service and the American public depends on it. If we want to engage the next generation in politics, what better way than to show that running for office is a worthwhile, healthy and positive form of public service? Whether designed as a government program, non-profit organization or business, a two-pronged national campaign – we call it the YouLead initiative – can send a strong signal to young people that running for office is the right way to serve. information people. country, country and world. The first thing will involve the media with the technology that will change the political opinion.

When young people think of government, they conjure up images of self-interested, self-interested people fighting against self-interested, self-interested people. themselves are doing themselves in a system that is broken to the point of paralysis. Focusing on local and state leaders – many of whom are not professional politicians – will mean that more elected leaders care about their country and bring about positive change. In addition, humorous social media posts by parents, teachers, public figures and celebrities encourage young people to think about the future and the political future. the stronger the message.

Second, local and state YouLead organizers can identify high school and college students who have already demonstrated leadership success—those in student government, captains of sports teams, debate teams and simulation teams. experiments, participants in sports and music clubs. At regional conferences, they will be encouraged to apply their leadership skills to electoral politics. The program can contribute to their competitive spirit by organizing a national conference to which regional participants can apply.

2. Make Political Education an Important Part of the College Admissions Process

The primary goal for most 12-17 year olds is to attend college (85% of the high school students we interviewed plan to attend). But the five main components of a college application — high school grades, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation — allow students to apply and be accepted even more famously. a school without political interest or knowledge. Can’t find Iraq on the map? It’s good. Don’t know the name of the vice president? It’s not too bad. Not sure which political party controls Congress? Don’t worry. Why not integrate political power into the college application process, such as new materials for the SAT or ACT, alternative tests, or essays on public affairs? The car is almost an accessory.

What is important is that it will force young people to take news and political information seriously. Combining college acceptance, even modestly, with political consciousness can pay off. We found that young people who are more involved in politics – at home, at school, with their friends and through the media – are more likely to run for office. In fact, they see the same negative side of modern politics as anyone else. But they also see examples of good politicians, elected officials solving problems, and ambitious, honest people trying to improve their country. The habit of talking to politicians may fade once students apply to college, but that may not be the case.

There is nothing wrong with colleges and universities taking the position that in order for students to be successful, it is important for students to connect with the world around them. In fact, a similar process has created the idea of ​​volunteering among many high school students. With about 75% of high school students doing some form of community service, many begin these efforts in hopes of “impressing” college admissions officers.

Related Article: Morrison is Hoping for an Unexpected Result in the Election, but ‘uncommitted’ Voters Seldom Change Their Minds in the Last Week

3. Create a GoRun App:

We live in the age of the app. You can upload photos, request an Uber, find cheap plane tickets, find the nearest Mexican restaurant, or listen to your favorite music with just a tap of an app. Young people do too. 81 percent of people under the age of 25 sleep with their phone next to them in bed; 74% use their phone as the first thing they do when they wake up; and 97% of teenagers regularly use smartphones in the bathroom to check information. There is no activity, time of day or place that is not suitable for youth smartphone and application use. So, let’s take advantage of the digital world the youth live in by creating an app that helps them know the political situation and teach them how to run for them.

Surprisingly, it is very difficult to know the status of elected officials in a country, let alone to determine the duties that belong to each person or the duties that are involved in serving them. There is no central database with this information. The GoRun app will allow users to enter an address and receive a comprehensive list of all elected officials representing the area, from the local school board to the President of the United States.

Clicking on any location will give you a description of the company, the important job group, and information about the tools and regulations required to do the job. Understanding how to become a candidate is up to you. Teachers can easily integrate into their programs. And young people who are not interested in running for office will not get involved in finding out the truth. This easy-to-access information will feature thousands of jobless voting opportunities in Washington, DC.

Our political system has done a lot for young people. This prevented them from running for office, made them not want to be elected, and made them separate from the idea of ​​political work. Designing a new curriculum will be difficult, but being creative about how we do it is our only choice.

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