OP/ED

Edited For Libel: Saira Blair and youth apathy

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

On November 4, 2014, while the rest of us were voting, stressing over midterms, and thinking about Gala tickets, Saira Blair became the youngest elected lawmaker in American history. This conservative Republican from West Virginia won the Republican primary against the incumbent legislator when she was 17, before she was even old enough to vote. Or shoot, even before she went to prom. She beat the Democratic nominee in the general election, becoming the youngest elected policymaker in American history. She is currently the member-elect of the West Virginia House of Delegates, to come into action in 2015. This youth advocate states in her campaign materials, “I am a proud constitutional conservative. I’m Pro Life. I’m Pro Marriage. I’m Pro Family. I’m Pro Second Amendment. And I’m Pro Business.” So, being the liberal Gopher I am, I’m against her political views, but I love that we have such a strong leader in our age bracket. Our generational apathy is widely regarded as a serious political representation problem. We, statistically speaking as a group, are pretty indifferent about politics. Goucher’s campus is notable in that its students try and make a difference and take a stand on international and domestic issues, but across the country, young voters have one of the lowest turnout rates in any demographic. The youth just doesn’t show up at the polls, whether this is because of a lack of passion regarding politics or the feeling of one’s vote being too small to matter. In a generation of apathy and an uninvolved youth bracket, Saira Blair not only votes and gets involved, but also wins an election for her party against older and more experienced candidates. I disagree with her politics, but we all could take a page out of Ms. Blair’s book. I’m not saying we need to all becoming sitting members of political offices, but I am calling for more awareness and action. Start a cause. Contribute to an existing cause. Riot. Most of the general election decisions (on individual politicians and policy referendums) were decided by a very small percentile, nationwide. It is unfortunate that our country is so divided, but it also means that our individual votes are worth that much more. You want to get marijuana legalized? Come up with some solid reasons, print up a few pamphlets, and pass them out in D.C. Sounds like a lot of work? Vote the politicians who side with you into office, and let them take up your cause. Republicans and Democrats will always have their issues and disagreements, but at least young Republicans are being active. We, on the more liberal side of the spectrum, or even we, on the younger side of the bracket, could learn a thing or four from Saira Blair.

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