Loss of Freedom Through Apathy


We do have freedom in this country but we simply choose to ignore it. We live
in a democracy, the most just kind of government, where we the people hold
supreme power. It is an institution that is a culmination of revolutions, wars,
philosophies and heroes. It is the greatest and proudest government in the
world. One reason for this is that Americans have a right citizens of Iraq and
China and North Korea only dreamed they could have. It took one of the greatest
military epics in history for our Founding Fathers to receive this right. It
took the marching of thousands for women to achieve this right. It took 400
years of abuse for blacks to finally to win this right. It is the highest and
purest form of freedom of speech and as Americans it is our single most powerful
instrument of self government. It is the American vote and in this Presidential
election it is a right 250 million chose to ignore.

This year I had the great opportunity to volunteer my services to the Democratic
party. I was excited to work for the Democrats because it was my first ever
experience involved with the election. For 17 years I stood as a common
bystander to this great American tradition. Volunteering my hours made me feel
like I was part of something important.

Mostly my work consisted of random polling. I would call people up between the
hours of 7 and 9 P.M. and ask them a few questions about the election. With
every call I hoped for the best, but it seemed that I was calling people at the
time they were most irritable. Most would simply hang up, leaving with a polite
"Oh, I\'m not interested." Others acted militantly to my calling, slamming the
phone in disgust. It startled and in a way disheartened me, the way many of the
people I polled seemed totally apathetic to the political world around us. To
me, spending a minute answering questions about the future of politics did not
seem like too much to ask at all. Yet it continued.

"Hello I\'m calling on behalf of your congressman Bob Toricelli. I\'d like to ask
a few questions."

"I\'m sorry I\'m really busy right now. I can\'t talk." *click

"Hello I\'m calling on behalf of your congressman Bob Toricelli. I\'d like to ask
a few questions."

"Not interested" *click

"Hello I\'m calling on behalf of your congressman Bob Toricelli. I\'d like to ask
a few questions."

"I\'m tired of hearing about this election." *click

If I was calling from a telephone company or some other corporate monster
disturbing people with their propaganda, I could understand how their sheer
rudeness could be justified. But I am not calling on behalf of some annoying
telemarketing scheme. I am an eager high school student with a fresh
infatuation with politics. I am polling people about the leader of tomorrow,
who will directly affect the taxes they spend, the wars they go into, and the
moral values that they seem to hold so dear. To take a minute did not seem like
a lot.

In this past election over 52% of the population eligible to vote did not. Many
don\'t find anything particularly wrong with this. Their logic being that half
of the nation voting would be just as effective as the entire nation. The
problem with this reasoning is that some groups in America vote in larger
numbers than other groups.

Take for example the elderly in this country. It has been well documented that
senior citizens above 60 have the highest voter turn-out of any age group in
this country. Both Presidential candidates this year have appealed strongly for
medical reforms with this group especially in mind. For Politicians this is the
group that can make or break their election hopes. They will do whatever it
takes to please this group, even if it means stepping all over another group to
please them.

In contrast the age bracket with the lowest voter turn-out are new voters
between 20 and 29. This "X" generation of voters will have their rap music
censored for being too explicit and their action films for being too violent.
The Internet that this generation seems to embrace so dearly will be censored
by the telecommunications bill and its television programming will include
little ratings on the top left of their screens. Politicians will have no
problem abusing the rights of this Generation X because simply put, they don\'t
go our and vote.

In this way the government