Everyone take a deep breath … it’s over. It’s finally over.
In the wake of two of the most expensive presidential election campaigns to date, we have been through a lot. For most of us, this election signified our first chance to vote. For many it was also our first exposure to the propagandistic hell that is a swing state during the climax of a United States presidential race. But it’s all over now, so we can relax. Can’t we?
Now more than ever, the political atmosphere has become engrained in lives, aided by our ever-evolving social media. I mean, think about the past few weeks, specifically. Never mind the television ads. Your friends’ Facebook and Twitter pages were overflowing with political statuses and tweets, including ones from candidates themselves. Enthused political bloggers have been more active than usual. Popular internet memes have popped up all over the place, and whole comedy genres have emerged on YouTube in response to the recent presidential campaigns.
One might observe this increased “political activism” as a positive sign of our generation’s interests, and yet, I can’t help feeling like many young voters don’t really care.
A good percentage of young, college voters has, if anything, adopted a light-hearted attitude toward politics as a result of the impact of social media; factors like humor and popularity seem to be at the heart of young voters’ political participation. It’s as if the pre-election political atmosphere got so hyped-up, but the only reason our generation cares is for the opportunity to make a joke, post a funny meme or play into political stereotypes for the sake of popularity. But the moment they know their candidate has won or lost, they’ve returned to posting only about next weekend’s big party or what their silly cat did yesterday.
True, some of our peers in this group seem to have real passion for the future of this country, but for every individual who thinks that way, it seems there are five others who are publically and shamelessly glorifying the mindset of willful political apathy.
This is not how we should engage in our country’s political process, especially when we belong to a category of voters that has significant influence in a presidential election. I mean, it’s great to see that people our age are even tuned-in to the future of our country at all, but their motivation seems to be irrelevant. I would bring up the argument that we are fortunate to even have an ability to vote, but that sentiment seems to be lost on many in our generation. But if we carry on treating politics like a hobby, what kind of disarray is in store for the future of our country?
Contrary to popular thinking, the requirements of being a voting citizen don’t begin a month before the election and end the day after. There are a lot of small moments in politics that carry huge importance, and they happen year-round. The presidential elections for 2012 may be over, but don’t tune out.