By Sharon Glick and Caroline Weinberg
When pondering politics, many high school students feel apathetic or incompetent. Many think that their inability to vote renders them unable to contribute to political life. However, there are many opportunities for minors to both influence campaigns and learn about politics.
One way students can get involved is by attending local Democratic or Republican Party meetings. According to Marc Katz of the Great Neck Republican Club, members of both parties “meet all year long to share ideas and thoughts to help candidates.” At these gatherings, students can discuss issues and meet with state senators and county and town officials. Katz said, “Issues affect everyone, including students. They can have quite a say by attending these meetings.”
Students can also directly aid campaigns. Steve Markowitz of the Great Neck Democratic Club said, “All campaigns are looking for volunteers. There is more than enough to do.” Student volunteers might distribute flyers, speak to voters, make phone calls, or go with candidates to campaign events.
National elections are also opportunities for students to influence politics. Gerard Terry, chairperson for the Town of North Hempstead Democratic Committee, said, “Depending on their political views, students can call young voters in swing states for Obama or Romney. They can have a tremendous impact.”
Students, as well as some adults, may also be thinking, why should I get involved in politics? What is in it for me? The leaders of these local political clubs give reasons as to why it is critical for local high school students to get active and involved in politics, whether it is on a local, state, or national level. Markowitz said, “It’s their future at stake. Are we going to have prosperity, peace, women’s rights, or will they be able to find jobs when they come out of college?”
Another question students may be asking themselves is whether or not they have enough knowledge and experience in politics to get involved. According to Terry, “Kids and interns can learn about politics right there with no prior experience with it. All you need is an interest in being involved in your community.” He also said that there are no limitations in involvement, even for a high school student.
So what is the next step? If you would like to get involved or help in the upcoming elections in any way, here are some ways to contact political leaders in the area. As Markowitz said, “If you are concerned about your future, be concerned about your leaders, and get involved.”