Political Education

Voters have a civil responsibility to vote; prior to voting, however, education is key.

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Voters have a civil responsibility to vote; prior to voting, however, education is key.

Alexa Reyna, ENN Staff

Politics is recognized as one of the most controversial topics to discuss among family members and friends, but the subject matter is increasingly prevalent as the 2020 Presidential Election draws closer. Many Lake Ridge seniors are eligible to participate in the upcoming election, given that they are over 18 and are registered to vote. However, for those who aren’t involved in politics, involvement in the election might look different than casting a ballot. People looking to be involved in the election must look into ways to educate themselves on various political topics and why voting is so important. 

For the eligible seniors, this year will be their first time voting. Voting is a way to use your voice and to make a change on both a local and national level. Government teacher, Amanda Mitchell, says voting is one of the many ways to use your voice. Mitchell is encouraging her students to see voting as a hire and fire job perspective. 

“We live in a free country and the way that we are able to keep our freedom is to educate ourselves and to use our voices. That’s one of the biggest ways to use our voice is to actually go and vote. I always tell my students we hire and we fire because they work for us, so I think with younger people, you guys tend not to vote as much. I think that this election is going to be different, but the thing is if you’re not the person that they know is going to make a difference in their campaign, then they’re probably not going to listen to your issues as much. I encourage my students to put the hat on as being a manager and as somebody who hires somebody and fires somebody and the way we do that is by voting,” said Mitchell.

AP European History teacher, Brandon Austin, says encourages his students to vote and to use their individual power to make a difference in the world.

“Voting is a cool process. There is a set of endorphins that you get every time you vote. Just voting, it doesn’t matter for who, makes everybody happy, but most of all you. If you have a voice and you don’t use it, you’re mute, don’t be mute,” said Austin. 

Most people watch the news to gain information, especially in regards to politics. Others tend to read newspapers, magazines, or scroll through different social media platforms for political information. News networks tend to have their own segment just for politics, including Fox News, where every Sunday the network broadcasts  a segment called “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” In this segment, Chris Wallace, discusses the latest news on all things politics with other hosts or politicians. Senior, Kylie Wagner, says she learned how to educate herself on politics by reading news articles and watching her most preferred TV networks.

“To educate myself on politics, I watch the news and read articles. I also learned by watching TV networks, like CNN and Fox News. Those two networks are where I mainly get information on politics and world issues as well,” said Wagner.

Live from New York for more than four decades, Saturday Night Live have done political based sketches and cold openings in the past. Most recently the show has done cold openings related to the Presidential Debates, involving President Donald Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, and former Vice President Joe Biden, played by Jim Carrey. Senior, Mia Hernandez, says she believes that SNL can affect a person’s view about politics and encourage people to research political topics they may have trouble understanding.

“I think networks like SNL do affect people’s beliefs. If a person isn’t dead set on their views, then SNL can show something that can influence what they think of a candidate or party or make them want to do more research into something specific the cast of SNL did a skit or cold opening on,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez also went into detail about the advice she would give to other peers on what they should do if they want to educate themselves about politics. 

“If I were to give teenagers some advice on how to educate themselves more, I would say to start small or locally. Don’t overwhelm yourself with every problem around the globe because it’s not realistic and you can’t fix everything. Don’t be ignorant, but also don’t feel like you have to know everything that’s going on,” said Hernandez.

With the 2020 election, educating oneself and others about politics can give a better understanding on what presidential candidates are discussing or debating about and can make an impact on certain views of political or world issues. Bringing education and politics together can build knowledge and make all sides of different arguments stronger.