Thursday, August 2, 2012

Focus Group Summary Data : What We Learned About Young Voters in 2012 Presidential Campaign

During spring 2012, members of the COM 398: Controlling Spin class conducted four separate focus groups to determine how engaged young voters (defined as between 17-30) were in the presidential primary.  Specifically, we wanted to determine what issues or concerns were affecting their perceptions of the 2012 campaigns, how they acquired political information about the race, the level of their affiliation with political party or ideology, and their assessment of how effectively the presidential primary campaigns were at addressing their interests.

Four focus groups were conducted, two within the COM 398 class, one with students in COM 102 and a fourth at the Bigler High School Journalism Conference held at Wilkes University on April 13. A total of 43 individuals participated, almost evenly split between females and males.  Specific demographic breakdowns will be included with each focus group.

(1) FG#1        

5 males and 5 females; all 10 were registered voters.

Political affiliation: 5 registered Democrats, 3 registered as Independents and 2 as Republicans. All 10 were Wilkes University Communication Studies majors enrolled in the COM 398 class and had been following the 2012 presidential primary throughout the semester.  Ages ranged from 19-23.

Issues that they wanted to hear about in the 2012 presidential campaign, in order of frequency: (a) jobs; (b) growing student loans and debt; (c) making the educational system a top priority (not just higher education); (d) gay rights (including marriage)/civil and human rights; (e) health care, and (f) issues of women’s rights.

Excerpts regarding “issues” from discussion:

“Outsourcing jobs to India and China—especially Apple’s iPod in China, is affecting jobs here. Production jobs need to be returned here…we need federal incentives for businesses to in-source jobs in U.S.”

“The poor job market combined with escalating college loan debt, functions as a double-edged blow to my generation’s ability to create a secure future.”

“I will leave college with over $50,000 in college debt. It will take many years to pay that down, even if I get a job after graduating in May.”

“Education should be the last program cut when budget cuts are applied.”

 “We need to stop accepting poor teaching…and graduating students who fail.”

“The U.S. is long past the point of singling out a group as being unprotected by their civil rights, including marrying whomever they choose.”

“Gay marriage is an issue of civil rights and equality—and not religion.”

“My recent visit to a local emergency room would have cost over $14,000, but I was covered by my parent’s insurance. I support Obama Care.”

“We need to make contraceptives available to everyone. Do not outlaw birth control.”

Birth control is a health care issue for many people. I strongly disagree with candidates who link birth control to religion and morality. For me, birth control is a health issue, and not always used as a contraceptive.”

When asked how candidate character and personal traits, as well as campaign strategies, might influence who they vote for in 2012, FG#1 mentioned in rank order: (a) being relatable; (b) honesty; (c) stop negative ads; (d) demonstrate foresight and long-term vision for the country; and (e) stop using devil/god terms; left/right polarizing language.

Excerpts from FG#! On “candidate character or traits” that will
Determine who they will vote for in 2012:

“Be relatable. If you want my vote you should not be condescending when speaking to or about young voters, middle-class voters or women.”

 “Put constituent needs ahead of self-interests.”

“Honesty is the key. Determining who is honest is very hard in a political campaign.”

“Please embrace nonpartisanship—I am so sick of campaigning in Republican or Democratic terms. Address the whole nation’s needs.”

“Stop the negative ads!  I tune them out.”

“In this election I can’t tell if an ad is the voice of the candidate or funded by some multi-millionaire PAC. The ugliest ads that attack others get away with it because a PAC sponsors it. This election’s ads are nastier than ever.”

“We really need campaign finance reform—now.”

“ I know people want to hear how a candidate will make their lives better right now. But I expect a President to have foresight, long-term vision for how we can move forward.”

“Polarizing language, like devil/god terms insult me. Don’t candidates realize young voters can see right past those cheap tactics?”

The group was also asked how they get their information about the presidential campaign.  Acknowledging that this specific group may be better informed than most because of their enrollment in this class, they acquire information about the 2012 campaign from: (a) conversations with their friends who follow politics; (b) Twitter from on-line news sources; (3) on-line news, mostly headlines from CNN; (d) Jon Stewart and the Comedy Channel; and (e) a tie between blogs and local newspapers.

Excerpts regarding how they acquire political information:

“I learn the most from our conversations in class and outside of class. I am interested in why my friends feel the way they do about the election.”

“I read CNN headline news…seldom more than that unless it is something that interests me.”

“I get my news on-line. I don’t read local or national papers.”

“Now I get Twitter updates from Politico. I read what comes to me as a text.”

“Most of my friends get their political news from Jon Stewart or the others on the Comedy Channel. I think their sarcasm is more objective than most political newscasts—they ridicule everyone equally.”

“I don’t have the time to watch 30 minutes of news. It doesn’t interest me.”

Comments on how engaged they are in the campaign and the political process over-all, included repeated comments like this following:

I am a registered Independent. I don’t want anything to do with the major political parties. They don’t speak to my needs as a young college student. Maybe I am a Libertarian.”

“Ten years from now, almost no young voters will identify with either the Republican or Democratic party. A real generational divide has emerged and it won’t go away.”

(2) FG #2 

This focus group was conducted in mid-March and involved 4 males and 4 females, all Communication Studies students enrolled in the COM 398 class. Again, they were probably better informed than their peers because of the content of the class. Of the participants, 3 were registered Democrats, 2 were Republican, 1 Independent and 2 were not registered to vote.  Ages ranged from 19-24.

Regarding the issues that mattered to them, they agreed with the topics raised in FG #1, but in addition added the following:

“There needs to be a separation of church and state. That separation should be there but listening to this campaign it is clear the church still influences the political process.”

 “I strongly oppose censorship on the internet. This is actually related to job creation and revenue development.”

 In terms of how they get their political information, this group expanded on the role of social media:

“Everyone our age is reached through the social media—first and frequently.”

“People want to be entertained, especially our generation. That’s why Jon Stewart is a source of campaign information. I watched the GOP primary debate in SC with my friends. And we made fun of everything—the moderator, the candidates and how seriously they took it. We didn’t take it seriously at all.”

“My family is not very politically involved. I was taught that you can’t trust politicians and that they are all liars.”

“I have not been taught how to vote…or why.”

The relevance of the two-party system came up repeatedly in FG#2:

“The two party system is ridiculous; it is judgmental and labels people.”

The parties spend way too much money and spend too much time fighting. That’s just not relevant to me. In fact, it makes me want to stay away from politics.”

“For me, and many of my peers, it’s time for No parties, just people.”

Final note: when asked if they had to vote for President at that time, which of the leading candidates would they vote for, 15 said they would vote for President Obama and 3 for Mitt Romney.

(3) FG#3  

The third focus group consisted of 8 Wilkes students enrolled in COM 102: Principles of Communication class, which is required of Communication Studies, Integrated Media, and some undeclared students. All eight were registered to vote. There were 4 males and 4 females, aged 18-23.  They were asked a similar question protocol as FG #1 and 2. Four of the eight were registered Independent, 2 Democrats, 1 Republican and 1 Libertarian.

Regarding issues or topics that concern them, this FG agreed with FG #1 and 2 and ranked jobs and the economy as the number one issue that concerned them. However, the other issues difference somewhat. Issues in rank order: (a) the economy, specifically jobs; (2) education and (3) and abortion as related to birth control.

Excerpts from discussion of issues in FG#3:

 “No one seems to know how to fix the economy. I will vote for someone who can restore a sense of well being.”

 “Obama is doing damage.”

“I look ahead and I don’t see jobs.”

“Abortion is an issue that will heavily sway who I vote for.”

“I could argue for hours on birth control and abortion, but that is a personal stand.”

When asked how they get their political information, FG#3 expanded the discussion into how they learned anything about politics.

Excerpts from FG#3’s discussion of sources of influence and information:

“I don’t follow politics.” {Mentioned by four participants)

 “My parents never pushed politics, they never encouraged me at all. However, my high school did.”

“In my high school history class, we were given voter registration forms when you turned 18.”

“My parents heavily encouraged me, and politics was discussed daily at home. They are involved in local politics and pushed me to become a Democrat, so I became a fan of the Republicans.”

“I have friends who are active in politics. I listen to them.”

FG#3 participants acquire political information about the 2012 campaign from: (a) friends—conversations and Face Book; (2) SNL and comedy shows; (3) CNN and to a limited degree (4) local papers. Only one follows national news; one follows local news coverage “of the corruption.”

“I get information from CNN on basic issues and the candidates.

“When my friend who is interested in politics posts something on Facebook, if I’m interested I will look.” (Several agreed about getting information from Face Book postings by their friends.)

“I get most of my information—all subjects-- from Face Book and Twitter.”

“I watch Saturday Night Live and enjoy when they make fun of the candidates, esp. after the GOP debates.”

“I talk to peers…that’s where I learn about the campaign.”

“We don’t pay attention to politics, or news in general. I would tell the next generation of young voters to stay better informed and educate themselves, even if they don’t want to.”

“I stay out of political discussions. I don’t like the rift it creates between people.”

FG#3 was also opinionated about the two-party system.

Excerpts on the two-party system from FG#3:

“I am a Democrat and will always be a Democrat. However, I am not blindly voting for someone just because of their party.”

“It [two-party system] works, so why add more parties? That would make it more confusing.”

“The Tea Party is way too extreme.”

“If I have to pick, it would be the lesser of two evils. A no party system makes sense. It should be the person or individual candidate and not the party that shapes voting.”

“Republicans today are what Democrats used to be—militating for change and social reform.”

When asked who they would vote for, if the election were held on the day of the FG, this group had a tepid response. Two said possibly Obama, one possibly Romney and five said they didn’t think they could vote for any of the current candidates

(4)  FG#4. 

On April 13, the fourth focus group was held as part of the annual Bigler High School Journalism Conference at Wilkes University. Knowing the participants would be high school-aged, the questions were adapted to the “next generation” of voters.  FG#4 had 17 participants, 9 males and 8 females. The ages ranged from 14-18. Students were from 6 different high schools in northeastern PA. FG#4 differed from the other three in several key ways. They were younger. They were more politically informed. And, they seemed to have been strongly influenced by the Libertarian Party.  Even though they were from 6 different schools, the affiliation to the Libertarian Party transcended any one school’s influence or location.  If they were to register now, seven of the 17 would register as Libertarians; 4 Democrats; 4 Republicans and 2 as Independents.

(The FG moderator did a follow up on how they were defining Libertarian to make sure they knew what the party was. All seven gave clear, detailed explanations of the Libertarian Party.)

When asked where and how they first were introduced to the importance of politics and voting, their responses were, in rank order: (a) reading on-line newspapers daily; (b) national broadcast media, including on-line broadcasts; (c) classes and teachers at school;
(d) Jon Stewart and Colbert Report and  (e) Twitter and Face Book postings by friends.

Excerpts on sources of information from FG#4:

“I listen to Glen Beck.”

“I have a history class that discusses the election and the parties every day. I get a lot of information from our discussions and my teacher,”

 “I actually watch Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report to learn about the campaign and debates.”

“I follow some blogs and Fox News.”

“I get all of my news on-line. It is easier and faster.”

When asked about the issues that mattered to them, FG#4 participants were both vague and strongly aligned with religion.  They cited the following as issues that concerned them: (a) jobs/employment and  (2) birth control and abortion.  Almost no comments were made on education.

Excerpts on issues from FG #4:

“Life begins at conception. I am pro-life and that shapes my vote.”

“Separation of church and state is important. The Republican views on birth control and a woman’s right to choose are being taken way too seriously.”

“There is a big divide between us and our parents and grandparents. Their issues—social security, Medicare, Iraq—those are not my issues.”

“I will not vote for anyone who supports abortion.”

When asked about the two-party system, FG#4 was the least hostile to political parties. However, they were strongly supportive of third parties, specifically the Libertarian Party. When asked if the election were to be held now, six would vote for Ron Paul, five for Obama and three for Romney. The others had no opinion at this time.

Excerpts from FG#4:

“In the Northern Tier the Tea Party Republicans are solid. I am with them.”

“Government should not regulate business or an individual’s freedom. I am behind Ron Paul.”

Key Take-Away Trends from Four Focus Groups of Young Voters Conducted at Wilkes University - May 2012

Four separate focus groups involving 43 individuals were conducted from March through mid-April by the COM 398: Controlling Spin—News, PR and Politics class at Wilkes University.  The participants ranged in age from 14-24.  Twenty-five of the 43 participants were already registered to vote, with 18 not registered.  After analyzing the data from the focus groups, five key take-away trends among these young voters—and the next generation of voters—suggest a changing electorate.

•Young voters get almost all information about the 2012 presidential campaign from conversations with friends and from social media (especially Face Book and Twitter).  CNN Headline News, Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report were mentioned more often as  “political news sources” than any other broadcast or print sources.

“Everyone our age is reached through social media—first and frequently.”

•There is distrust of the 2-party system among young voters, coupled
with growing registration as Independents among the 18-24 year olds.  Of the 26 participants old enough to register, their registrations included:
            Democrat                  38.5% (10)
            Independent             31% (8)
            Republican               19% (5)
            Libertarian               .04% (1)
            Not Registered         .08% (2)

Of the total 43 participants, including the high school students, while “Democrat” was most often selected, the combined registration as “Independent” and “Libertarian” totaled 42% of the young voters.
            Democrat                  32.5% (14)
            Independent             23% (10)
            Republican               21% (9)
            Libertarian               18.5% (8)
            Not Registered         4.5 % (2)

“Ten years from now, almost no young voters will identify with either the Republicans or Democrats. A real generational divide has emerged and it won’t go away.”

•Issues that concern young voters most are: jobs, mounting student loans and debt, improving quality of over-all educational system, civil rights for gays, including marriage, and separation of church and state.  Regarding issues, age matters. There was a big difference between how 18-24 year olds responded to this question and how the high school students, aged 14-18 responded.

“I graduate in May with $50,000 in debt from college.  I am concerned about my job prospects since I will be paying off loans for years.”

The U.S. is long past the point of singling out a group as being unprotected
By their civil rights, including marrying whomever they choose.”

•Young voters, and the next generation of voters, are very media savvy and see campaigns that use negative ads as divisive. Polarizing language is seen as typical of two-party campaigning.

“Polarizing language insults me, especially god/devil terms. Don’t candidates realize young voters can see right past these cheap tactics?”

“Be relatable. If you want my vote, you should not be condescending when speaking to or about young voters, middle-class voters or women.”

•At the time of the focus groups in March-April 2012, when asked, “If the election were held today, which of the presidential candidates would you voter for” young voters were leaning toward President Obama or not voting at all.
            Obama                        51% (22)
            No One                       19% (8)
            Romney                      16% (7)
            Paul                            14% (6)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How to Get Cathryn Frear's Vote: A Young Voter Manifesto

Generation Y is a lot of things.  We are the first set of kids brought up in a truly digital age.  We are the kids brought up with bubble-gum pop and a major wave of boy/girl bands. We are the kids who worship the 90s.  We are another thing, as well: we’re adults and no longer kids.  We’re grownups now and grownups make grownup decisions, whether they like it or not.  We had a high voter turnout last election, and I say we keep that rolling this election, too.

As for me, I have a few criteria which a candidate must abide by if he or she wants my vote.  Here goes:


And when I say pro-education, I don’t mean they just LIKE education, I mean they fight for and protect it.  My stepmom is a fourth grade teacher and possibly the biggest complaint in our house about the educational system in America is there are too many standardized tests.  There has to be a better way.  I don’t have the solution; that’s not my job.  But I do have a vote to choose who I think will have the solution.

Military "Can we get out of places we don't belong?"

We’re at war with everyone when we should only maybe waging war with Al Qaeda and that’s it.  Iran is a real threat, yes, but if there is some more diplomatic way to solve the Iran problem, let’s do that.  Iraq was basically our generation’s Vietnam.  Obviously it wasn’t nearly as bad and no war is completely comparable to another, but they had some commonalities.  It was pointless, many of our young people died, and we spent years dragging this out instead of using our money for more important things.  Like the deficit.  Or rebuilding homes for Hurricane Katrina victims.  Or feeding the needy.  Reasons for being at war with Iraq really pale in comparison to actually worthy causes.

Civil rights

Our generation’s civil rights movement is mostly to do with gays.  This is the most important criterion.  This is the true deciding factor for me.  There are some things I will never understand.  The inability for same-sex couples to devote their lives to one another and have that recognized and protected by the government is one of them.  I believe strongly in separation of Church and State.  If certain Churches don’t want to allow marriages to be performed by their people, fine.  Forget about the Pope.  Let him twirl around in his fancy, Bejazzled dress telling you your path to salvation is crumbling before you.  Whatever.  But the government should still marry these people.  Marriage recognized by the government gives couples certain rights; almost 2000 rights which are not protected, even if the couple is civilly unionized.  I would go into the rights, but think about it this way: the phrase “what’s yours is mine” is taken pretty literally by the government.  Apply that to nearly every right American citizens have and there you have what it legally means to be married.  It’s Not only unfair and unjust to put laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman unless your state feels otherwise, it’s unconstitutional.  The federal government needs to step in and stand by the unalienable rights of all citizens.

What it comes down to and what I’m trying to say here is, vote.  Educate yourself on the issues and who stands for what and cast your ballot.  Even if you vote against what I believe, at least you let yourself be heard.  Because whoever is in office will help to decide a lot of important things.  Those things will affect you and every single American citizen.  In a big way.

Cathryn Frear
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2012

How to Get Gillyan Gowarty's Vote: A Young Voter Manifesto

I may be a young voter, and I may not have had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election yet because of my age, but this does not mean that I do not have opinions. I am a registered Republican, but I will vote based on where the candidate stands on issues that are important to me, even if that candidate is not a Republican. This will most likely be the case in the next election, because I am not at all impressed with the Republican candidates thus far.


I am a student, but I will be graduating this coming May, so student aid is not at the top of my priority list at this point. I am much more concerned about being able to get a job and being able to move out of my parent’s house and support myself. I am also concerned about healthcare. My health is far from perfect, and if I cannot find a job that will allow me to purchase my own health insurance, I am going to be in big trouble. I am currently on my parent’s healthcare plan, which is great for now, but it is not a long-term plan. I do not necessarily agree with Obama’s bill that will allow children to be on their parents’ healthcare plan until they are 26. To some degree, I think this is a good idea, because if I should be unable to find a job right away, I will still be protected. However, I think it is encouraging children to stay in their parents’ homes and live off of them without even looking for a job, because it is not necessary. I think this is wrong. I do live with my parents right now, and I am very thankful for that, but I do not look at it as a long-term solution. I want to be able to move out on my own and support myself. This is why I went to college. I would like to get married someday, but my mother always taught me the importance of being able to live independent of a man, as she has done and could do now if it becomes necessary. This leads me to my next point.

End Gender Inequality

In order to get my vote, do not talk down to me because I am a woman. Do not tell me how I should live my life or what my duties are. If I choose to have children, that will be my decision. If this does occur, I will still have a career, as my mother always did. It is not feasible to live and raise a family on one income, unless that one income is substantial. There is also the rising issue of birth control. Outlawing it or making it unavailable to women is absolutely ridiculous. There are too many people as it is who have children that they cannot afford. Outlawing birth control would only add to that problem. In addition to that, birth control is not always used to solely prevent pregnancy. That is the main purpose of it, yes, but there are other benefits to women. I was prescribed a birth control pill to treat and prevent my polycystic ovary syndrome. Without it, I would probably need surgery in the future, which I will not be able to pay for if I cannot buy health insurance. It all comes together.

Gillyan Gowarty
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2013

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to Get Ian Foley's Vote: A Young Voter Manifesto

As a voter, I find only a handful of issues I believe to be firmly perquisite to a candidate garnering my vote in an election.  I try to take a more world-view and look at issues in a big picture form, to determine what really matters in short term, as well as long term. We live in a nation where the priority of issues is non-static, and thus it is important to understand that weight of an issue is contingent upon this natural priority, rather than personal.  Therefore, I find the following to be necessary an elected official.


The ability and willingness to compromise short-term public opinion for long-term national gains or solutions. Self sacrifice of elected office in order to fulfill long term constituent needs, as opposed to short term wants, is an admirable trait.

Fiscal Responsibility

Adjunct to the previously mentioned, an elected official must show the willingness to make tough decisions for national solvency for years to come.  He must not only maintain current bridges, but to build ones he will never cross.

Trustee of Government

Elected official should form own opinion based on voter opinions, then act with the best interests of the constituency and the nation. They should act on the true needs of the constituency, nation, and to the extent of their own knowledge, experience and discretion.

National Solvency

The ability to balance ethics, justice, and sovereignty. While an elected official must work for the betterment of the planet, should not promote or act in any way that leads to the destruction of the nation or constituency. Every effort should be made to defend and extend the economic interests and authority of the nation. A compromise against the nation in view of any other purpose contradicts the art of representative government.

Ian Foley
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2014

How to Get Joshua Pellew's Vote: A Young Voter Manifesto

As a young voter, and college student certain issues in this upcoming election matter. Mainly job creation, health care, foreign affairs, and now forever increasing fuel prices matter to me the most. The first time I voted in 2008 the issues were about change getting out of these financial deficits that were still currently dealing with. I feel that this upcoming election we voters have a very difficult choice on our hands. Do we stay with our current president who (I feel) has done most of what he can or do we elect a new president (one of the republic candidates) to take control and possibly change things.

Currently the vote on the republic candidates is between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney and I personally thing neither one of them has a decent plan for changing the current issues that concern me. As a young American currently heading into the job market what jobs will be available to me? Will I be able to get a job in my field willing to pay enough so that I can obtain my own medical insurance, pay back my student loans, and even maintain a living on my own?

This is what I’m afraid of the most. I’m not sure I fully believe in any candidates plan for change in the current administration, I think there should be a complete revamp of congress with people who have experience and some general compassion for not just the middle class but for all people. I am not a strong supporter of anyone of these candidates even though Santorum’s solutions moderately speak to me. I feel he is only winning because his financial contributions and popularity not for his solutions. Although, I am not happy with my choices now that Ron Paul is a “non-factor” in this race but the president’s administration has not completely failed us, we are getting there little by little.

Another issue of mine is the U.S. involvement in foreign affair how we must come to the rescue of every country that is in the mist of civil warfare and spread our democracy, but how can we spread our government when our government is beginning to fail us? I feel the U.S. should stay out of foreign affairs unless issues of genocide and civil war are at stake. The problem is between the uses of Soft power (humanitarianism) vs. Hard power (military). The U.S. should only focus on regional conflict and global security not spending money and sacrificing U.S. personal. With many of my family members as active duty soldiers including my youngest sister, I would hate to see the U.S. involved in matters it has no business in.

Overall, the U.S. and the state it’s in have left me wondering for my future. I’m that who every wins the presidential election knows that in order to restore the country everyone must reach some sort of common ground otherwise I’m moving to Canada.

Joshua Pellew
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2012

We Can Make A Change! (Mock Speech)

Morning Wilkes University! Young Voters! “We CAN make a change!” Today’s laws and legislatures are decided candidates who ignore and chastise us. But not any longer, we must begin to take action today! Register to vote. We do have a voice and we can make a change!

Organizations like “Rock the Vote” have educated young people as well as registered more young people to vote than any other organization or campaign, including more than 2.5 million young voter registrations in 2008. Majority of states are failing young voters: only 15 states scored above 50%. Now is the time to speak on the nations issues that are affecting us; jobs, healthcare, gay marriage, foreign policies and furthermore the countries deficit that has increased gas prices.

There are millions of your out there that are wondering “Well how can my vote help?” and “I doubt it will change anything.” But how do you know if you’ve never taken interest or even registered to vote. Candidates need us to get elected, without the young vote were just giving people who aren’t interested in our issues the chance to prove that they were right and we DON’T matter in this country.

I believe that a voice heard is better than a voice unsung. Barack Obama won among young voters by 27 points in a head-to-head matchup with John McCain, 60-33%. Obama ran strongly with every segment of the youth vote. We were the reasons why he was elected president. Take a stand today and learn the issues that affect us as young people and even as a country. “Again, We Can Make a Change!”

Join organizations like the League of Young Voter and Rock the Vote, show the older generation that we are the next in line and that there decision about who they elect affect us as well. But, also we have the power to change that by casting our vote when the primary comes around. Voting for those candidates who appeal to our wants and desires for a better America. Because “We Can make a Change!”

Joshua Pellew
Communication Studies
Wilkes 2013

Can you hear us now? A Young Voter's Rally Cry

We are young and we want them to listen. We want them to stop ignoring us. They see us as lazy, inarticulate, and angry. They see us as too apathetic to have our own opinions. When we, the young voter, have many opinions. Opinions about the crippling issues this country now faces, opinions about they, the older politicians and leaders who discount us because they think we have no money, and no power to offer them. But what they don’t know is, we have more power than ever and we are not giving it away.

We are young and we believe in people. More than ever we can communicate with all people all over the world faster than ever before. Through social media we are able to see people’s faces, to see our hopes, our dreams, to see our sorrows, our struggles, to see our lives, and most importantly to see that inside we are all the same. That no one is better than anyone else. That everyone is equal.  Through our time connecting, we also realize that we all want the same thing. We want someone to care. We want our government to care about us once again. We connect with everyone; everyone except our own political leaders who label our innovation as nothing but a fad. While they should be using it to educate themselves about us, as we have educated ourselves. To communicate with us as we have communicated with each other.

We are young and we stand here together today unified, unlike our own government. Our own government that has only become concerned with party lines, lobbyists, and their next paycheck.  Yet they dismiss us, our generation, as the selfish ones. As a bunch of kids who understand nothing. When in fact, we understand the most important thing, what is right and what is wrong. Politicians don’t always understand this or pretend not to. We know it is wrong to judge someone based on their religion, race, or sexuality. We know it is wrong to deny someone their basic rights as a human being because they love someone. We know it is wrong to let people suffer jobless and debt-ridden as congress vacations months out of a year. We know it is wrong to let people die in another land because they don’t have some resource we desire when we have the medical capability to save them. We know it is wrong to spend billions of dollars on killing people, sometimes innocent people, while our own economy is flailing. We know it is wrong to censor our internet, our communication.

We are young and we know it is wrong to lie. To lie about how much money you make. To lie about what you can do for us. To lie about what you have done in the past. Or more often than not, to lie as an excuse for doing something that we know is wrong. We are sick of the lies, not just from politicians, but from the older generations of this country who run our markets and our media. We need someone to tell us the truth not just what we or more likely their donor or political party wants to hear. When we learn the truth we learn reality; and by understanding today’s reality we will have a better ability to improve our future reality. The truth leads to freedom. We know that is right. They are afraid of the truth as they are secretly afraid of us.

We are young and we understand that our future appears dimmer than any American generation before us. Our future, America’s future, is like a lone flashlight running out of battery power in a dark cave. Because they have forgotten about us along with our crippling student loans, our unstable jobless future, our despicably biased education system, our rising oil and food prices, and our inexcusable gender and homosexual discrimination. Yes. It is up to us to change those batteries before that light is gone completely. Together we need to stand- up, we need to make them listen to what is important to us, We need to take action by convincing them to finally take action. Otherwise, we, The United States of America, will be left in darkness.

We are young and we need to tell this country what is right. We will do this by doing what our generation knows best, connecting on social media and forming a united front for young voter awareness. We will take to our Twitter accounts, our Facebook accounts, and our blogs to express our opinions to our many friends and followers at least once every day.  We will use You Tube to send our messages of frustration to our political leaders until they listen. We will flood our congressman’s Inbox with emails about issues we care about until they finally respond. But most importantly we will use our social media to organize as one collective voice that they no longer can avoid. If they continue to put in their earplugs, we will go to their doorstep and ring the bell.

In August, we mobilized united young voters will march at the Republican National Convention. In September, the Capitol building. They cannot hide from us anymore. We will make them have to look at us, to look upon the faces of their people, to look upon the faces of their future.

We are young and we have something to say, we will tell them what we have to say.
We are young and we can make a difference. We will make a difference.
We are young and we are ready.
We are young and we vote.

Sarah Mitrotz
Communication Studies 
Wilkes 2013