AP NEWS
Related topics

Celebrities are role models to young voters

October 29, 2018

Democracies are a form of government where the will of the people is supposed to be the ultimate principle that dictates how the state acts.

This might sound like an elitist statement full of jargon. But in simple terms, it means that the government of a democracy should represent the ideals the average citizen of the country holds. Obviously, not all values are universal, but most people can differentiate between good and bad behaviors.

We aren’t born knowing what we believe to be right and wrong; these values are instilled in us by our experience and upbringing, and they continue to develop as a person grows and thinks about the world around them.

Part of the reason many teenagers aren’t interested in politics is that they haven’t critically assessed the adult issues that are frequently at the center of political debate. Many of these problems are foreign to their direct exposure. Because of this, they lack a vested interest in the issues.

I think many of today’s adults were much the same when they were coming into adulthood, as was the generation before them, too. It’s natural for students to be apathetic towards politics, especially with all of the pressures put on them in school. Many simply do not have the time or energy to research topics that they can’t even vote on.

Of course, this isn’t true of all teenagers. Many teenagers are politically active and conscientious of the discussions that are being held. These tend to be more mature students with a high concern for the future. These students with a strong ability to imagine and orient themselves toward the future are also frequently the ones achieving the most success in the classroom because they understand that their performance affects their opportunities down the road.

Ultimately, it’s a self-correcting problem. Those not interested in politics will be driven to take an interest by the real world one day and with the advent of celebrities like Taylor Swift and Kanye West advocating for political awareness on social media, perhaps that day will be sooner rather than later.

If you don’t believe me, consider this: when Taylor Swift posted on Instagram and encouraged people to register to vote, Vote.org saw over 65,000 registrations in a single day, according to a CNN interview with Kamari Guthrie, the director of communications for the website. To put that number into perspective, the entire month of August saw only around 57,000 registrations.

Like it or not, celebrities like Taylor Swift are role models for many young voters, and as long as they use their cultural staying power to raise awareness rather than pray on the ignorant, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If they are able to get more people involved in the elections that choose who runs our country, then more power to them.

After all, a democracy should represent the will of the people, and you can’t voice your will unless you fill out a ballot.