(Copyright 1999. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

October 25, 1999

--- OPINION ---

In defense of teen apathy, cynicism

By MERISSA MASTROPIERO
The Tattoo
    
Both mayoral candidates, Mike Werner and Frank Nicastro,
would like to see teens more involved in government.
Nicastro would like to see teens attend city council meetings
and Werner thinks teen political parties are a good idea.

Teens obviously have the opportunity to attend the meetings
or form mock political parties, but they aren't currently
participating. Why?

"It is pointless," said Sara Nadeau, a senior at Bristol Eastern
High School. "They're not going to listen to us anyway."

While some may think teens are apathetic and don't care
about life in general. On the average, teens would put their
time in government if they saw it had a purpose. But it
usually doesn't.

They learn about the government around them and see
nothing worth wasting time on. As students, they learn that
the people's vote for president is meaningless. They see the
majority of teachers are against block scheduling, yet we still
have it.

They learn that less than half of the voting population shows
up on election day. They see the political parties ganging up
on presidents for lying about sex.

They see day in and day out people frustrated with their
government and unhappy with its decisions. And when they
grow up, they see that those who have connections are the
ones that are heard.

Teens aren't apathetic, they are just realistic. They do have an
opinion, they just don't bother to voice it too loud. What's the
point when it will only lead to a sore throat?

Talking to the government should be a conversation between
two parties. Today it seems it's simply the people babbling to
themselves.

All in all, what people put into government is what they
should get out. Those that put their two senses in, get the
government demanding cents and thatís it, just cents. 

The equation should be the people putting their ideas and the
government doing their ideas. That's the purpose of
government, doing the ideas of the people.

"It's important for us to develop our sense of civic duty," said
Matt Gaul, a senior at Eastern.

But, he said, "Basically there's a voting age for a reason. Our
opinions are too easily swayed by outside forces. While
politicians should be concerned about our needs, they might
not coincide with our opinions."

The problem is not that teens don't get involved, it's that
when they do, nothing is done.

The candidates can say all they want that teens should get
more involved in government, but if they don't pay attention,
we aren't going to respond.


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