So today, I am asked to cast a vote based on who I find to be the most elegible man or woman to a) represent my constituency in An Dáil and b) the person I find to most capable of fighting Dublin's battle in the EU.
I'll be honest. I've left it all to the last minute to enforce any sort of informed voting knowledge into my feeble student brain, with frantic internet searches. Between the pressures of working a part-time job, to the the gruelling task of all-night Xbox and DVD marathons, to spending hours upon end on pointless websites promoting vapid absurdity; learning and reading about Politicians and what they were going to do for me seemed like a task that could wait.
Not that I was entirely to blame, of course.
Every single time a politician has called to my door, he asked to see Mammy or Daddy. One could use the "Ah, but they probably didn't think you had the vote, yet," argument, but that is irrelevant considering the fact that I (and most of my friends) would appear to be at least three years older than I actually am (which is 19). Not to mention the fact that another friend of mine who is pushing thirty endured a similar experience. Is it that we exude a sense of social rebelliousness? Are we so 'punk' in our appearance that politicians assume we have no interest in voting? Do they immediately cast us off as non-voters?
The climax of this 'Candidapathy' (apparently that actually is a word) came when I was strolling home from the vaccuous pit of commercialistic despair that is Dundrum Town Center, dressed up to the nines in the shirt and tie that my clothes-shop career requires of me (with shades and a jacket thrown in). Instead of the previous "You're unlikely to vote, give this leaflet to Daddykins," attitude, I was treated with full-attention and even a handshake.
My response? "Yes, yes, very good," followed by a smooth walk away and the conspicuous crumpling-up of a candidate's flyer. Man, I'm awesome.
I suppose the point that I'm trying to make is that it's a vicious circle. Young people are interested in the elections, but not in politicians (most of us, anyway). Politicians are interested in people, but none of them young. Therefore, when the two elements are forced to mix, they usually don't. Politicians don't bother campaigning to the young people and as a result, the young people don't bother listening when they do.
Most of my friends probably aren't going to vote. While I may not be the most informed of the voters out there, I'm going to, for no other reason than to exercise my right and to get the ball rolling.