Teen Style: If we can't vote, why bother forming political beliefs?

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Politics are not often discussed among teenagers, but with the right amount of poking and prodding, teenagers are not as apathetic to politics as society assumes. Though the inability to vote is often frustrating, teenagers can be filled with clever insight into the governmental structure that they will soon be a part of.

Being a minor often suffocates motivation to express an opinion.

"I don't think minors should have to pay taxes because we don't get to vote on where the money goes," Stacy Armstrong said.

Because they are too young to vote, many are forced to sit on the sidelines and watch as decisions are made. This discourages teenagers and creates a feeling of helplessness that often leads them to abandon efforts to influence the political decisions affecting their future.

"I tried to go to a rally in Colorado Springs with some friends, but no one would drive us," Heather Snook said.

She expressed her opinions on a bulletin board at her school.

"It's frustrating when adults won't take our opinions seriously because they don't think we're old enough to know what we're talking about," Snook said.

Even when there is desire, some believe, like Armstrong, that politics are "too corrupt for me to really care."

Instead, teenagers push politics to the backs of their minds, where the subject stagnates until they can vote. When that time comes, how prepared will they be?

"I'm worried about turning 18 and voting because I think I'm just going to check boxes without really knowing what I'm doing," Emma Simmins said.

Others hope to make a difference when the time comes. Many agree that they will take an active role when they get the chance to vote, and seize the opportunity.

Some follow the news and debate current issues with friends. Their opinions range from criticism to unquestioning agreement with decisions made by world leaders. Although they are unable to vote, most of them try to learn from what's going on in the world so that they will know the reasons for future decisions and avoid making the same mistakes.

All things considered, the emerging generation of voters is a freethinking and aware group of citizens. Though there are always a few lost souls in any group, there are more than enough willing to carry the weight. We are guaranteed to be faced with many problems, but in the words of Hagrid, "What will come, will come, and we'll meet it when it does."

Stephanie Engle and Kelly Shaw will be juniors this year at Steamboat Springs High School.

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