Young people and politics, two incompatible worlds


A gap that is widening more and more, with both falling turnout at the polls and the lack of youth in the political world.

If politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group, it’s obvious that someone will be satisfy, someone won’t and someone else might also feel un-considered. In recent years, young people are complaining about this. One of the reasons of this not take into account is the lack of these young people into politics.

The average age of European Parliament Members on 1 April 2018 was 55, with the oldest member aged 89 (from France) and the youngest 29 (a Bulgarian and a Croatian Member). “On Our Watch hackathon” (October 2017) showed that a few countries don’t have a single lawmaker currently aged 39 or less in their national delegations: Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia. Luxembourg and Poland bring the oldest delegations to the European Parliament, with the largest share of parliamentarians over 60.

About voting, the situation is similar. During European Parliament elections in 2014, more than 51 % of over 55s went to the polls, but only the 35,2 % of aged 25-39 voted and only the 27,8 % of aged 18-24 (out of a total of 42,6 %). Moreover, during lasts years voter turnout is falling in particular in the young people.

It shows that seniors, even if discouraged from today’s politicians and parties, remember past times when the world of politics was more credible and they still feel the responsibility to vote as something important. On the other side, the situation is opposite: “nothing changes with my vote” is the answer that we are use to listen asking about it to youngest. They don’t feel politics is something for them.

But it’s understandable. When politics speaks to the youngsters is only for get votes. They are conscious about it so they may feel cheated; political world seems like open only to a few, with extremely technical terms or with big sentences with a doubtful meaning, so young people do not understand and get discouraged.

It also seems that for to be a good politic you have to make promises even if you are not sure to keep them; if you get something is because of a trade-off; authority, favors, corruption, to suck up, money, interest are part of politics and young people don’t like them.

So they move away and lose interest thinking that it is not their business, but they don’t understand how much politics affect their life!

It is not entirely true they don’t do politics, they do it in a different ways and with different tools. For example taking to the streets for manifestations, doing volunteer work, constituting or forming part of associations, they are very active on the internet. But always staying away from what is the traditional way of doing politics.

I do not know how to connect these two sides together in other ways than the confidence that politics is the place when things can change, good politicians exist and everyone can be a good politician. To have this confidence people need to have knowledge, education. So we should start from the school, introducing the way of thinking that we are dedicated to live in a society with others, studying the rules or the laws it is not enough.

There should be more public places where ideas and opinions can meet, get used to the fact that you can spend your time for sit in a municipal assembly or you can go to meeting for discuss politics. Even if today it is in crisis, we live in democracy: if we want to improve the situation, voting and active participation are the strongest weapons we have.

Article written by Manuel Riva from Italy

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