Could I get some feedback on my essay?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Could I get some feedback on my essay?
By Pirategal (Pirategal) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 04:54 pm: Edit

I've submitted this essay about an important issue important to me before in the college admissions section, but I've tried to go back and fix it according to some of the comments I received. What do you think? I could really use some feedback, good or bad, on this version. Thanks.

As Americans, we are united by the threads of our common values and are bound together by the threads of our shared flag. We are engaged in a worldwide war on terror to capture those who threaten our way of life and to spread our democratic ideals. Yet, increasingly, we as a people are failing to exercise those same exalted democratic rights. Since 1960 citizen participation in all aspects of the political process, everything from voting to volunteering for a campaign, has been in a steady decline. Today, nearly 25% of Americans say they no longer have time to vote in any election, and only half of Americans voted in the 2000 presidential election; but the percentage of young people voting was even less. Only 32% of citizens ages 18-25 voted, a historic and sobering low. This generation, my generation, is less likely than any other in history to participate and contribute to the electoral process. However, as a campaign volunteer and local activist, I have come to understand that this burgeoning apathy is not an impossible predicament. With the help of committed educators, dedicated volunteers, and inventive programs, youth can again find their political voice and serve as a powerful force in American democracy.

In the July heat, I labored over the layout and content of an online student newspaper, typing to the lullaby whir of the computer. Submissions poured in from across the country. I was awed by the willingness with which youth too young to vote took up the pen to claim political power; and I was amazed simple power of the mouse to amplify a personís words.

In the September sunshine, I got to know the people of Asheville as I walked from house to house knocking on doors. I spoke with a friendly new mother, and cooed over her baby. I talked with a tired grandmother, anxious to return to her afternoon television shows. I chatted with a college student, who told me of his campus activism. I got to know a little bit about these people and their lives, and in return I spoke to them about important neighborhood concerns and city council candidatesí positions on those issues.

In the November dusk, in a school gym smelling of chalk and sweat, under the yellow buzz of lights, I shared the legacy of democracy with a new generation as they marked their oversized red, white and blue ballots. Nationwide, 4.3 million children have participated in similar pint-sized elections though the Kids Voting program. This organization, and others like it, are helping to establish the habit of voting in children barely old enough to begin kindergarten, a habit that will empower their generation as they reach adulthood.

In the sigh of election night 2002, I questioned the effectiveness of my voice among the din of the apathetic. When the results were tabulated, U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles had lost my county by a single vote. Yet, the tiny margin by which Bowles was defeated illustrates the power of every vote, of every well-chosen word, of every well-directed action. I have licked envelopes and knocked on doors. I have protested and I have petitioned. I have questioned and deliberated and debated and will do so until I have neither voice nor breath. If todayís youth are not galvanized to action by September 11, by the corruption of institutions which donít serve the public good, by the need for new voices and new ideas, then our nation will surely face more difficult times ahead.

By Jellybean24 (Jellybean24) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

I like the thing with the months. Brings life to it. And good writing.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:35 pm: Edit

Better. My personal opine is that you should take it line by line and look for superfluous words or phrases. Tighten it up, there is still too much going on in there. Pare it down till the only things left are you and your important issue. I myself am put off by the "voice or breath" line.

Your paragraph three of your essay is a good example of what it should all look like (although it puzzles me that the scope of your conversations with the residents wasn't broader). I've been there and the "cooing" baby and the tired Grandma wanting to get back to her "show" rang true to me. Anyone who has ever gone door to canvassing or registering voters will say, yep -he's been there. Descriptive does not mean flowery, or syrupy. You painted in a few brush strokes a picture that I recognized and related to.

Try again. Really pare it down to the important issue and why or how it is important to you. (Not global importance, or national importance although it could be). Good luck.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 06:40 pm: Edit

double, sorry.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit

I liked the essay except that I thought you were in a real voter registration drive and not the Kid's Voter program as you mention way down in the 4th paragraph. It would be nice to mention that right away.

Cbbal is right, you have to tighten it up a bit.

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