Editorial: Teens are powerful if they use their voice


Ash Catalan

Student gets involved with current movements and social issues, using social media to make activism more accessible than ever before.

Gen Z is a strange generation. Nestled among a time period of international turmoil with access to a world of information, it would not be surprising if we were all cynical and jaded about politics.

With access to social media platforms like TikTok making it easy to stay informed and organize, there is certainly no lack of information preventing young people from becoming political activists.

Instead, the issue is one of motivation and effort. And while we realize it can feel like a big ask of our generation to become actively engaged in the political process at a young age, The Eagle’s Eye believes it is vital for us all to start in our political journey while we are young even while we are stuck in the middle of a global pandemic.

This 2020 election will prove to be one of the most anticipated, stressful, and important events of our generation’s lives. Our voices will change the rest of society as we see it now, so it’s important to not make mistakes we would regret in the future.

Through social media, people are constantly debating and clashing against each other’s ideas, constantly trying to topple over the latter’s values and beliefs. Naturally, manipulative content will emerge to negatively impact the views of others for the benefit of one’s agenda.

If so, how would we see through those lies? According to an article written by the News Literacy Project called, “Be news-literate on Election Day,” it is evident that in order to detect false/exaggerated information or the truth of the content, we would need to be much more careful than we think.

For instance, if you were to digest certain information through social media, you must take precautions like only picking a limited number of standard-based news organizations and avoiding obsessively using social media. One must also be aware of what is raw content and not, baseless allegations and fraud, fake tweets, and misinterpretations of sources.

By being a careful consumer of news, we can be informed voters who know enough about the candidates on the ballot to make a researched-based decision. And that means learning about all of the candidates running at the bottom of the ticket for offices like school board, city council and the many propositions voters are asked to decide whether they pass or fail. Without spending some time to get to know the issues and the candidates, you may find yourself blindsided when you go into cast your ballot for the first time. Some candidates are re-elected year after year only because people don’t spend the time to vote in these local and lesser known positions.

It’s a common feeling to believe that you are powerless when you are young. It can often feel that way when you are in school and you are told to follow orders and commands from authority figures. However, it is important that we all come to realize if we don’t get involved, as early as we can, then older people will always be making decisions for younger generations. There are other ways to get involved beyond just voting.

You can make a difference by making your stance on issues crystal clear to friends and family, and educating them on what is at stake. You can openly correct older family members when they cling to their traditionalist ideas, no matter the consequence. You can share informational posts on social media to spread awareness. You can stand up for those who are scared and don’t know how to have their voices heard.

While we might not be able to vote, we are powerful. We have the power to make others care, to change others’ perspectives. In the long run, this power of opening up others’ minds will prove to be more impactful than voting itself. We will need to be constantly involved and advocating, not just casting a ballot once every four years.

So go ahead and take out your phone and search for a list of the most controversial topics of the day. Pick one that you care about. Research it obsessively. Next, take a stand and find candidates or organizations that advocate to make change. By doing these simple acts, you will become a powerful advocate yourself and an active member of your community. Politics isn’t so bad if you are involved.