Staff Editorial: Local politics still relevant to those under 18

While America boasts itself as the home of a free and working democracy, voter turnout rates of late tell a contradictory story. In the 2008 general election, merely 44 percent of 18 through 25 year-olds voted in the intense presidential race widely considered of historical importance. State and local elections closer to home garner even less participation.

But with local elections quickly approaching, the democratic process will once again prove itself directly relevant to the Mason community this fall. Of immediate concern to Mason High School will be the candidates running for the school board. We get the opportunity to decide who will represent our school district for the next two years. So, let’s participate this time.

While we understand that most of the students at MHS will not be old enough to vote in elections this fall, engaging with local politics includes a broader scope of action than just voting. Read about the candidates and understand their respective stances. Talk to parents and friends about who they believe will best act in the capacity of a school board member. Anyone who will be 17 by November 3 also has the option of working the polls by signing up through the Warren County Board of Elections. Political involvement can begin long before one can submit his or her first ballot.

While we may sound slightly over the top in our suggestions to get involved, consider this: with the democratic opportunity we experience every two years, there is attached immense responsibility. Failing to participate in the system means devaluing the hard won movements of our predecessors. Political apathy cheapens the sacrifices that those before us have made to push for the ability to engage. In addition, by neglecting political involvement, we voluntarily remove our voices from our immediate and broader communities. In doing so, we revoke the personal investments that democracy requires from all of us to create effective government.
Most importantly, forsaking our right to participate also means giving up any entitlement to complain about the representation that is elected without our contribution. So, this fall, get engaged to ensure that we continue to be well represented in the future.

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