The Time for Youth To Do “Adult Things”

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Being a student that has just turned 18 and is newly eligible to vote in the election I wanted to ask someone in the know of what the Nevada caucus is and why I should get involved. I seeked answers from my Political Science instructor, Layne Hansen, at the University of Nevada, Reno when I interviewed him last Tuesday. Going into this interview I had a very basic understanding of what the Nevada caucus is and why I should care about it. I left with a different outlook on this electoral event and a wanting to share what I had learned with other students new to the whole “adult thing” like me.

Layne laid it all out for me when he said, “If you want the world to reflect what you want, what you believe, you have to get involved on some level.” Those words speak to all students who want to have their voice be heard. He also expressed how the only way to make a difference in today’s world is through the political process, and the only way to learn about the political process is to get involved and experience it for yourself.

Although the Nevada caucus has already passed there are plenty of ways to still get involved within the process. As Layne said in the interview, “Nevada is a battle ground state, and you all still have the opportunity to get involved.” In other words Nevada’s Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters, so every vote counts. He suggest ideas as simple as listening to the radio when they are talking about the candidates, or future ones, pay attention to each candidates commercials on T.V. Do you agree with what they are conveying? Social media is right up our alley, so start a Facebook group in support of a candidate or issue. Find a way to volunteer for an organization you support. Layne also answers that the easiest way to get involved is to simply learn about your own political ideology. What do you and don’t you believe in? Who stands for those values and ideas? They are so many ways to get involved without even going to the polling place! Pondering on my own beliefs has given me the foundation to realize why and how I want to get involved in the process.

This may seem like a lot of information on something that you don’t care about. Here is the thing though, YOU should care. The political process is not something to escape, and you shouldn’t want to. We are America’s voice and this election particularly is speaking directly to us. With problems focusing on education, healthcare, and violence, the youth need their voice to be heard in this election. “If you see no connection you are less likely to participate anyway,” Layne said. So it is up to us to get involved and make those connections.

This interview provided me the outlook I needed to understand in order to develop the motivation to be a participating member of society. Now it is my job to help my friends and peers find that motivation as well. A statement that stuck out to me, “If you go to a caucus in Nevada you represent a very small percentage of your community, so you are speaking for your community in that sense,” Layne said. The Nevada caucus may have already passed but the political process is an ongoing opportunity for us youth to get involved in. It may take a little bit more convincing for some, but this is the time for us youth to get involved and assert our voice.