This year I will finally turn 18 years old and, since the start of my sophomore year in high school, I have taken an interest in the politics of our nation. As a result, I stay pretty well-informed on the current events taking place in the U.S. Yet, because I was not yet of age, I could never truly have any say in the politics of the country.

At this time last year, I was consumed with the stories and media news about the outcome of the 2008 election, and yet my opinion didn’t matter because of my age. I would complain that I could not have my say even though, if able to vote, my decision would be an informed one, free of bias and the typical youthful ignorance so many teenagers are accused of having.

I’m writing to tell you that, because my age no longer holds me back, I fully intend on participating more actively in our government, including voting in our 2012 election. Living overseas as a dependent in a military family has given me a greater perspective about our country, and I plan to be among the people who make it better. I want my vote to count because democracy is a key principle on which our great nation was built.

While many teenagers are apathetic to this fact, I want my opinion to matter and make a difference in an ever-changing world where our generation is the future.

Jacqueline HowardMannheim, Germany

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