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.