- by K Duron

- Educate yourself on the topics that affect you (i.e. money, education, environment, gay rights, abortion, etc.)

- If you can’t vote on proposals in your local area, ask your parents to vote for you

- If they can’t vote, or if they have different views, the next step is your community-which means starting out in your school and going from there.

- Join a club that is involved in political action like the Junior Statesmen of America Club, Debate Club, or if they don’t exist at your school...start one! It’s great for your resume as a prospective college student, but it also helps you learn and gain leadership skills.

- Make sure you know both sides of an issue. It’s hard to argue for something that you don’t know the opposing view for.

- Ask your teachers about how they become politically involved. If you’re really into environmental issues, go to you science teacher and maybe he/she is well-informed on propositions or local governors who support certain issues.

- USE SOCIAL MEDIA! Chances are you probably have more than a hundred friends on Facebook, so use this to your advantage! If you’re trying to get a petition signed, announce it on your Facebook or Twitter every couple of days to make sure your friends see it. You can also use social media to get people you know more active. Like if you’re trying to support a local ordinance in your city that will eliminate smoking in certain public areas, post a status about what is going on and how people can help, because most of them won’t know about it unless you tell them.

- Even though I have to admit, some of the political memes out there are pretty funny, try not to base your knowledge on the images you see of politicians or issues. In this election, we saw plenty of Obama and Romney memes, but the problem is that people start to jump on the bandwagon and only vote for a candidate because most of the memes are in his favor. Do your research on specific topics that affect you.

- Finally, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it seems like, why should I be politically involved if I can’t vote yet, or if politicians don’t pay attention to young people anyways? Don’t worry, you have plenty of things you can do before you turn 18. And politicians will listen if you try to make your voice heard. Spread the word. We’re the ones who are going to have to pay off the debt, deal with energy issues, pay for our college, and try to find or create jobs. So if we don’t take action for us, who will?

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