By Eamon Penland
Eamon is one of AIDemocracy’s new 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find his bio, and a description of the Issue Analyst program, below.

As we continue to withdraw troops from the region and shift our focus to other
problems such as Iran, we, as young people, must continue to stay informed.
That is our only real duty as citizens of the most powerful democratic country in
the world.

We don’t need to protest or go and fight necessarily. We are unfortunately
fighting more difficult battles at home. Sure, the stock market and economic
outlook look bleak, but we face other problems. Right now we are fighting the
problems of ignorance and apathy.

How is our democracy supposed to work if we have uninformed citizens voting
and making decisions or, even worse, not voting at all? How many of my friends
don’t have a clue what is going on in the world? My answers to these questions
are it can’t and most. What do you think?

So what role will we play as young people?

Our role as young people should be to stay as well informed as possible. Well,
this should be easier than ever, right? True, we do have more information at
our fingertips than ever before. We are the technology generation, and we must
realize that technology can and will influence our lives; however, we must also
remember that this constant exposure to information is both good and bad. We
can be easily blinded by others biases. It’s important that the issues at hand are
understood and discussed.

As young people we could make a difference by fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq
and protesting, but, for most, those options aren’t realistic; however, influencing
those around us is something we do every day. By influencing those around us
we can in turn influence policy makers. There will be policy decisions to be made
in the near future regarding Afghanistan and Iraq. Let’s make sure they are the
right ones.

Eamon is a senior Foreign Affairs Major at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. After taking classes regarding US foreign policy and learning about the Middle East, he realized the importance of staying up to date with what is going on in that region in order to make accurate and well thought out responses regarding issues taking place there. As we try to pull troops out of the region, he believes we must remember and learn from past mistakes so that we don’t create problems for ourselves in the future.