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Devin Hiett is an American Promise citizen leader and a recent international studies and journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma. A Texas native, Devin currently lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Devin wrote this op-ed in The Fulcrum to highlight the connection between low voter participation among young people and the corrosive influence of big money political spending.
Young Americans are often portrayed as politically apathetic, but recent University of Oklahoma graduate Devin Hiett says that isn’t true.
“The idea that young people don’t vote because they are apathetic is a fallacy. Throughout history, many of the most influential activist movements around the world have been led by young people, and this momentum has accelerated in recent years,” Hiett writes.
The real reason young Americans do not vote as frequently as older Americans, she says, is because “they believe their vote doesn’t have the power to bring about meaningful change―and they’re right.”
Studies show that, compared with economic elites who have significant influence over policy, average voters have practically no influence over political outcomes. This lack of influence is only magnified by the lack of expendable income among young people, Devin says, and leads to disengagement.
“The only way to reclaim our democracy and create a political system that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people is by getting big money out of politics,” Devin writes. “The most effective way to accomplish this is through the passage of a 28th Amendment to the Constitution.”
Passing a 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics would help start the process of empowering young Americans in our democracy, she says, noting that young people care passionately about issues like climate change, student debt and income inequality, and they recognize the connection between those issues and political spending from the ultra-wealthy and special interests.