By Mytreyi Sureshkumar (‘21)
Teenagers are rarely the focus of any news concerning politics. As minors, many students do not have the power to vote, so politicians aim their campaigns towards adults. However, it is important for adolescents to start thinking about politics early, so that they can advocate and vote for their beliefs in the future.
Two years ago the 2016 Presidential Campaign sparked a heated debate that divided the country. There were people who supported Hillary Clinton, and there were people who supported Donald Trump, but many Americans supported neither candidate. Many were upset with the scandals surrounding both Clinton and Trump.
After the results of the election two years ago, which left Congress in the hands of the Republican party, the upcoming midterm elections in November are giving Americans a chance to change the control of the Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives to a Democratic majority.
No matter how involved people are in politics, voting for candidates who represent their beliefs is crucial. New Jersey allows 17-year-olds to register to vote in high school, so they will be able to vote in the upcoming elections. Eligible students who wish to vote should register as soon as possible since the deadline in New Jersey is October 16, and according to Vote.org, registering only takes two minutes.
Unfortunately though, many high schoolers are minors who cannot vote, and may be wondering what they can do.
Senior Soham Warik, the President of the Model United Nations Club, said, “You can’t really get involved politics until you understand how the world works. By joining clubs like Model UN, you take the first step to learn about ideas on different issues like women’s rights for example, so when you turn 18, you won’t waste your vote.”
Students can also discuss social issues by calling or writing letters to government officials. The Amnesty International Club at the high school helps students to even lobby New Jersey representatives. Government representatives are the voice of all people, including minors; they do not just represent the constituents who voted for them. Teenagers’ voices do get heard, and they do cause change.
For example, after the Parkland shooting, students attended a Board of Education meeting on February 26 and discussed how they felt about safety in school, and their positions on gun control.
As a result, the Police Department told the public that there will be new entry protocols and new technology to protect schools by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
Superintendent Mr. Scott Feder and Chief Mr. Raymond J. Hayducka both repeated that “South Brunswick will be proactive, not reactive.”
Students getting involved in politics will ensure that they make the best decision when they are able to vote. Students can channel their energy into political activism in a variety of ways.
It is essential for students to take action now. We learn about traumatic events in the news, but students can make a difference by getting involved, and most importantly, change the lives of future generations. If you are able, don’t forget to go out and vote on November 6 here at SBHS from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.