Douglas W. Vinson

Many young Americans do not vote in this country today and they are sometimes viewed as uncaring or even ignorant. The fact is that our youth have not been raised believing that voting is very important. Our economy has been very stable for all of their lives and they have not witnessed any great opposition to the United States. Politics seem to be some sort of game with each side telling only lies and vague plans of changing the present to a better future. The candidates always promise to be better than their opponents or their predecessors.

In the 1992 Presidential election, health care was a big issue. President Clinton promised that 90 days after taking office that a solid health care program would be into effect allowing every American the opportunity to receive affordable coverage. The fact is this did not happen. Clinton on this issue set an example to Americans, especially the youth, that reality does not confirm most campaign promises, as many other candidates have done in the past. Young people look at the situation thinking, "If the President doesn't have to keep his promises, why should I? Why should I vote if I am only trying to pick the candidate who is going to cheat and lie the least?"

In this election there are issues that young Americans need to be concerned with because it will be they who will inherit the country and all of her problems. Some of these issues include crime, education and the environment. Most violent crimes are down since Clinton was elected in 1992, with the exception of violent juvenile crimes which have risen. Clinton wants to continue putting thousands of police officers on the streets and he wants to continue enforcing The Gun- Free Schools Act, which basically expels any student caught with a gun at school. He also supports curfew laws for teenagers. Dole wants to put them all in jail by giving juveniles that have committed violent crimes very long and harsh penalties. Also Dole wants to limit death-row inmates to only one appeal of their case before execution.

Education is always a concern during election time because everyone realizes how important it is in terms of growth and our ability to compete in the world. The problem is that it is only an issue at election time and after the election, the subject will only be a memory. Clinton says that by the year 2000, public schools will meet minimum education requirements and this will be accomplished by allowing the federal government to lead the way by setting clear goals that every school should meet. Dole says that school reforms should be left to local communities.

The environment is always an issue, but people don't realize how important an issue it actually is. Clinton has vetoed several bills the Senate tried to pass concerning the environment and business. Dole thinks that too much control and too many regulations prohibit businesses from functioning successfully. This one thing, putting business above people and the environment that is causing the world many problems today. Both Dole and Clinton promise to make this country better. They can't keep their promises. They don't know how to fix this country. Passing laws will not help until the morals and consciousness of the American people are raised. Until that time, crime, deliberate damage to our environment and many other problems facing America and the entire world will continue to exist.