(LIN) — Last night, millions watched the two presidential candidates spar on TV in their first debate of the campaign.
If you weren’t one of those people, you probably woke up to a Facebook feed full of Big Bird, social eye rolls and news that Romney – all of a sudden – is starting to look like a presidential candidate.
My feed was no different, full of candidate-bashing and differing political stances, which I skimmed quickly to avoid coloring my opinion of my dearest friends.
What annoyed me most are not the jabs on my candidate or the post-first, think-later comments, but the posts of “whatevers,” “who cares” and “I’ll be happy when it’s over.”
Honestly, it’s absolutely terrifying that most young adults seem to have no idea what is truly at stake for this election.
I’ll admit, it’s really hard to pay attention to the candidates and see through the cloud of attack ads and one-liners. But please let me remind you: These are actual people with actual ideas on what they think is best for this country, and these two men have very different opinions on what’s best for you and your future.
Let’s walk through a few of these opinions discussed last night:
Social Security. What you know about it is that it is taken out of your paycheck and older people get it once they’ve retired. What you may not realize is that unless Congress acts, the funds that support Social Security could run out by 2033.
Will you have any retirement funds available when that day comes, and what is happening to the money being taken out of your paycheck? One candidate said last night “Social Security is structurally sound.”Do you know which one?
Education. Even if you don’t have kids yet, you are absolutely involved in our education funding dilemma. Do you have student loans, for example? How long are you going to be paying those off?
College costs are leaving most of us starting our adult lives with mounting debt, regardless if we can find a job to help pay it off. Each candidate has their own views on how to pay for the increasing costs of education. Some involve easier access to funds, but have you taken a second to think about the long-term effects of that cost to you, or to our country’s mounting deficit?
Healthcare. Have you been to the doctor’s office or emergency room lately and been shoveled a huge bill? Even though new healthcare regulations allow 26year-olds to still be on their parents’ insurance plans, the number of unemployed Americans under between 19 and 30 still hangs around 30 percent. You should make sure you know what each candidate stands for and your future access to medical coverage.
I can’t blame you for being bored during the debate. At the end of the day, President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney both are just politicians.
I also get the fact that we, as young Americans, don’t make up a large amount of the voting population quite yet, but we are the future of this country. Now is the time to be involved in the decision making and discussion.
But for goodness sake, don’t write off what’s going on around you.
Parting thought: Obama addressed a crowd today in Denver the day after he seemingly “lost” the first round of debates. After making a remark about Romney, his crowd booed. Obama paused, and said, “Don’t boo. Vote.”
Regardless of who you side with, for your own sake, pick a side and vote.
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to younger, influential voters through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix .