why aren't you voting?

50% idk, 50% idk

this gif has over 400 thousand notes on tumblr. when did "I don't know" and "I don't care" become a cool thing to say? not knowing anything and not caring about it either should be far from cool. while talking politics might not appear sexy to everyone, taking charge of your own future certainly should make it more attractive? I live in a first world country where a lot of young people, including myself, take being able to vote for granted and don't exercise their democratic rights. growing up in germany I was never really exposed to any kind of oppression,  so I don't know what it's like not to have a voice. 

a democracy is a system of government in which all the people of a state are involved in making decisions; typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar assembly. according to the democracy index, an index compiled by the economist intelligence unit, there are currently 20 full democracies, 59 flawed democracies, 36 hybrid regimes and 52 authoritarian regimes. the full democracies are all considered to be in northern america and western europe. the index is based on 60 different indicators, as of 2015 norway is in the first place and north korea takes the last place. it just so happens that all of my close friends are from and live in either northern america or western europe. most of them are in their 20s like me and never experienced what it would be like to not have a voice. sure, we were taught about all kinds of authoritarian regimes, but with no context to reality. and no matter which democratic country you look at, the participation rates of the youth during elections is always pretty low. we are served chances to change our futures on a silver platter, but most of us don't take advantage of it. 

whenever and wherever the topic of politics arises, someone will always change the subject, because talking about it "is just too depressing". and why do young people feel like it's too depressing? that's because so many are under the impression that they can't change anything. 

and yes, you certainly won't be able to change anything if you "don't know" and "don't care". but the whole "my voice doesn't change anything" is simply not true. your vote counts just as much as long as you go out and vote. so many of us, including myself sometimes, are just not informed on our rights. 

the difficulty in most countries is the split of opinions between age groups. most first world countries are aeging. ageing as in their population gets older and older by the years. that's because our generation and the one before us just doesn't have children at a young age, doesn't get as many children, or doesn't want any at all. so already in many countries there are more elderly people than children and teenagers. and they have very different interests. if the older generation votes, they have more influence than our generation, just because we can be outnumbered more easily. but we are still the generation that has to live with those decisions being made, the longest. that's why it is so important that we vote. if the turnout among young voters increases, so will the influence of our generation. 

then there is also the "I don't like either of the candidates/options". so by not voting you're just avoiding the problem? just like "I don't care". you know who, in almost every country, has a 99% vote turnout? millionaires. because they care about everything staying just the same. and if you don't vote, you also shouldn't have the right to complain about how much (or little) taxes rich people pay; because they most probably used their rights to vote on that topic. 

we shouldn't take our democracies for granted. not having an opinion is an opinion too, it's just the wrong one. and being ill-informed on your voting system is certainly not an excuse not to vote. it is so easy to google any questions so might have about your electoral system. if you aren't voting, no one is hearing your voice; so no one will be able to represent you in the future. 

also: if you happen to live in the states and you're not even sure if you can vote, you can simply go on canivote.org and find out within minutes.