BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Both mayoral candidates, Mike Werner and Frank Nicastro, would like to see teens more involved in government. Nicastro would like to see teens attend city council meetings and Werner thinks teen political parties are a good idea.
Teens obviously have the opportunity to attend the meetings or form mock political parties, but they aren’t currently participating. Why?
“It is pointless,” said Sara Nadeau, a senior at Bristol Eastern High School. “They’re not going to listen to us anyway.”
While some may think teens are apathetic and don’t care about life in general. On the average, teens would put their time in government if they saw it had a purpose. But it usually doesn’t.
They learn about the government around them and see nothing worth wasting time on. As students, they learn that the people’s vote for president is meaningless. They see the majority of teachers are against block scheduling, yet we still have it.
They learn that less than half of the voting population shows up on election day. They see the political parties ganging up on presidents for lying about sex.
They see day in and day out people frustrated with their government and unhappy with its decisions. And when they grow up, they see that those who have connections are the ones that are heard.
Teens aren’t apathetic, they are just realistic. They do have an opinion, they just don’t bother to voice it too loud. What’s the point when it will only lead to a sore throat?
Talking to the government should be a conversation between two parties. Today it seems it’s simply the people babbling to themselves.
All in all, what people put into government is what they should get out. Those that put their two senses in, get the government demanding cents and that’s it, just cents.
The equation should be the people putting their ideas and the government doing their ideas. That’s the purpose of government, doing the ideas of the people.
“It’s important for us to develop our sense of civic duty,” said Matt Gaul, a senior at Eastern.
But, he said, “Basically there’s a voting age for a reason. Our opinions are too easily swayed by outside forces. While politicians should be concerned about our needs, they might not coincide with our opinions.”
The problem is not that teens don’t get involved, it’s that when they do, nothing is done.
The candidates can say all they want that teens should get more involved in government, but if they don’t pay attention, we aren’t going to respond.
Merissa Mastropiero is a Reporter from Connecticut for Youth Journalism International.