Thursday, February 26, 2009

Picking a President - Originally Published in the Sandwich Enterprise, February 2008

Sandwich’s young adults are preparing for the upcoming national election by focusing on the issues that will almost certainly have a direct effect on them.

The youth vote is traditionally disappointingly small, but as the November election ticks closer, political energy amongst the town’s youngest voters seems to be running higher this year than in most. The pool of serious contenders vying for their parties’ nominations is giving these and all voters much to think about.

Tyler Thomas, a 2006 Sandwich High School graduate and contractor for his family-owned business, said the economy is at the forefront of his concerns right now.

“My business is definitely feeling the pinch right now,” he said.

Mr. Thomas said he maintains confidence that the business will survive, but between the recession that many economists predict and little government support for small business, he is still worried.

“Small business needs reforms,” he said. “It’s very, very hard for small businesses to make money between insurance and liabilities, amongst other things.”

Rachel Wesley, also a 2006 SHS graduate, who is currently a sophomore at Bridgewater State College studying to become a teacher, expressed concern over the No Child Left Behind Act.

“Teaching’s already an unforgiving job,” she said. “If you’re going to make educators put in even more effort, there needs to be more incentive. I really want to see student loans for teachers forgiven if they keep No Child Left Behind.”

Ms. Wesley also hopes to see more serious action taken with regards to climate change. She believes there to be a strong chance that her generation will feel the negative effects of global warming. “There at least needs to be a stronger push for more fuel-efficient cars,” she said.

Global warming and alternative energy initiatives are a prevalent concern. Dan Rose, another SHS grad now living in Boston while studying at Northeastern University, said he supports production of ethanol and other renewable fuel sources. Mr. Rose believes that such initiatives will ultimately help the economy through job creation.

“I might not need to be worrying about how the money in my pocket is losing value every five seconds,” he said.

Social security is also on the minds of some young voters. “It needs to be fixed,” Mr. Rose said. “It’s not fair for me to be paying into it when I’m probably never going to see it.”

Mr. Thomas agreed. “It’s a joke. I’ll be shocked if I ever see that money. What’s worse is that I have no idea where it’s going.”

An independent (as are nearly forty percent of America’s voters aged 18-24), Mr. Thomas hopes to develop a clearer understanding of each candidate’s platform before choosing the candidate he supports. However, one of his biggest complaints about the present system is that he doubts he’ll be able to choose one.

“They start campaigning a year and a half before the election,” he said. “It all becomes spin way too soon, then it just becomes pandering, so I don’t actually have any idea what they stand for.”

He does, however, know that he is personally invested in and concerned about this election. The youth vote is becoming increasingly more focused on individual political desires, as opposed to the trendy candidate of choice.

1 comment:

  1. Funny how students were talking about the economy six months before the candidates.

    The last line is quite a laugher too, though, in retrospect.