by Katherine Libby, United Press International
As the presidential election nears, the George Mason University campus is buzzing with students talking politics, dispelling the myth that the nation’s youth simply don’t care.
One student changing the reputation of young voters is Zach Rosen, a communication major at George Mason University. Rosen, known for his happy-go-lucky attitude, is serious about this year’s presidential election and believes that there are a few key issues that matter most.
Among his top concerns are the war in Iraq, energy and the economy. What this election might really come down to for Rosen and many other young voters is the age and experience of the next president.
“McCain has been involved in politics for a long time, but his age is a big liability,” he said. “And although I agree with some of his policies and respect the sacrifices he made for our country, if something were to happen to him our nation would be at the hands of a pretty inexperienced governor.”
Although at age 72, the Republican presidential candidate would not be the oldest president to hold office, McCain’s “green” conservative running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may have made Independents and moderate Republicans think twice about the reality of such possibilities. “I mean, four years is a long time,” Rosen said.
Republican vice-presidential nominee Palin is not the only one being scrutinized by students at George Mason, however. Many students on campus question whether or not if after serving only five years in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama is ready to lead the country.
“Barack may not have as much experience as McCain, but his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden certainly does,” Rosen said. “So that’s the question; do I care more about age or experience of my president, and my vice president?”
And at one of the nation’s most diverse college campuses, Rosen isn’t the only student to be concerned with these two major issues.
“It comes up a lot in conversation at school,” he said. “And I’ve realized that the people who are affected most by this issue are people who are not loyal to a specific party, which is a great portion of young voters.”
As the students at George Mason are forced to choose between more than just age and experience in the upcoming election, it is clear that youth have their own voice.
“I think young people are finally starting to realize that to make changes in our country we have to actually do something about it,” Rosen said. “It’s like the importance of a (the) vote has finally settled in.”