Voter distrust is dangerous

Of all the fundamental rights afforded to Americans, perhaps none is more is more important than the right to elect one’s leaders. Above all, it is the civic duty of all citizens. Yet, there is growing sentiment among younger generations that their vote doesn’t matter, and it has led to decreased voting turnouts. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, in the 2012 presidential election only 26% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast a vote. Ignoring all multiple systemically flawed reasons that can make voters ineligible, how can we expect our government to aptly represent our beliefs if 75% of our generation does not even cast a vote? A potential cause of low turnouts may be the widespread distrust of government that is exhibited by millennials. According to Pew Research Center, 66% of young voters said that government is usually inefficient and wasteful. Part of the most pessimistic generation to date, younger voters may have crafted this belief that their vote does not matter simply because the government handles the electoral process. All the messages that flood our information streams tell us how irreparable the system has become, but few realistic solutions have been offered. Speaking definitively gets people elected, but compromise gets things done. If a candidate’s campaign does not accurate represent what will be done after they obtain office, distrust has now been validated. A certain degree of criticism is healthy, but when it begins to deter citizens from engaging in the most basic of rights something has gone terribly wrong. Skepticism towards all governmental operations has led to a misunderstanding of political action. No longer is a vote the most effective way to advocate for issues. Individuals take to social media to solve the nation’s problems. Twitter rants and Facebook pledges may be conversation starters, but it doesn’t represent political engagement. Neither does much in the way of mobilizing the public to vote. When 40% of people don’t show up to the polls, their opinions are not be heard. All the re-tweets in the country won’t change this.