"How am I supposed to vote if I don't even know what I'm voting for?"

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"Voting Day" blackboard surrounded by stickers with "voted" written on it

"How am I supposed to vote if I don't even know what I'm voting for?"

This is what an 18-year-old friend of mine answered when I asked if she was going to vote for the EU Parliament. Having studied law since my freshman year in high school I had never faced the challenge of studying and understanding the complexity of the Italian politic system, so you can imagine my surprise in hearing those words. I had never thought of how hard the choice between political parties could be when you don't know what a political party is or does. And just like me, most governments in the world seem to be missing a key point to understanding consensus and dissent.

To agree or disagree with a policy or political ideology, we have to understand the real meaning behind it. We have to understand whether or not it's possible to put it into practice, if there are enough funds for it to become a reality, how it's going to influence our lives. To do this we need some tools, tools that only studying the roots of our legal system can give us. So how can we let someone vote without these tools? 

Would we let someone become a surgeon without teaching him what a surgery is? Would we let a pilot fly without knowing how a plane works? No, nobody would. So why would we let someone vote without knowing what their voting for? How do we expect our election systems to work if our citizens don't even know what an election system is? And finally, why do we consider playing volleyball more important to the life of teenagers than knowing how their State works? 

There is not a real answer to those questions, but there is indeed a way to stop asking them. Let's make studying our State functioning mandatory in every school. Let's build more conscious and aware voters. Let's stop preventing people from voting because they don't know the reason why they're voting. How can we talk about democracy without taking into consideration to what degree our voters are educated on the work of our governments? There is only one right answer: we can't, so let’s stop doing it.

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