Political Apathy Among Today’s Youth

Meheresh Yeditha, Editor-In-Chief

Political apathy has, is, and always will be, the antithesis of human development and progress. Whenever there is an excess of complacency and detachment towards the nation’s future, whenever those who exhibit disinterest towards everything outnumber those who actually want to make a difference, then those nations pay the price for their citizens’ impassivity.

Today, we, people of the United States, are on a disturbing trend in this direction, especially us, the youth. According to a study done, amongst young people ages 15 to 22, 37% never volunteer for any kind of cause or organization (up from 27% in 2000) and only 46% say that they can make a difference in the world, with 52% saying they cannot. These numbers are startling, and demonstrate that we are becoming less and less aware and more apathetic to the climate of the world around us. We today no longer care to take action or even be aware about issues; instead, we complain with no intention to attempt to change it or shrug it off by saying, “it doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care”. How many people show an interest in reading an article in the Hilltopper that is about politics?

As the youth of the United States, we are its future. Our habits, political views, and actions will have a major effect on the future of our country, and the future of humanity. We as a youth have a moral obligation not only to be informed about current situations, but also to try to make a difference. During the tumultuous civil rights movement of the 1960s, millions of young people became actively involved to try to support what they believed in. After the 1960s, America emerged a dramatically different place, highly prosperous and with equality for almost all. Today, the controversial issues no longer engender debate like they did back then. Take for example the recent Supreme Court gay rights case. The case is a controversial issue that should shock a lot of people into action, but it had little to no impact amongst young people. Of my 600 friends on Facebook, only about 30 had anything to say on the issue. Even fewer explicitly expressed a view on the issue, and no one actually went out to get physically involved with the gay rights movement or its counterpart. What happened to the youth’s willingness to get up and get involved? What happened to the spirit of the 60’s?

The simple answer is that we are becoming much more callous towards the world around us and much more content in our current position regardless of how flawed it may be. The internet, obesity, and the many other new developments are impacting our culture in a negative way. Even compared to a decade ago, we are much less conducive to anything that requires us to do work than we were in the past, and show a disconcerting hostility to anything that actually requires us to make a change. The spirit that propelled America forward into a great world power was our revolutionary spirit, our desire to do things to make a change whenever the opportunity arose. In the past, instead of whining or passively watching an event unfold, we plunged headfirst into resolving the issue at hand, regardless of what the consequences may be – and usually it worked in our favor. Citizens have not just rights to claim, but responsibilities to fulfill. Instead of sitting at home and casually observing the occurrences of the world around us, or ignoring them entirely, we need to come out and engage in true activism to at least try to make a difference. As we stand at a crucial threshold of our nation’s history, with a mediocre education system, one of the world’s highest obesity rates, and surprisingly enough a downright depressing political freedom index, we, the youth of America, must come out of our shells and revive the America that used to be.