Doyle: The primaries? Isn't that a new reality show?

Turning 18 comes with a lot of privileges - we can buy tobacco products, lottery tickets, pornography and even sign forms that our parents used to have to sign for us.

And oh yeah, we can vote!

Being oblivious to the political matters of our nation might be forgivable for minors, but once a U.S. citizen turns 18, this political ignorance is inexcusable.

Many of our young people are more wrapped up in Britney's downfall than they are in following the campaign trails of one of the most exciting presidential elections in history. They might be able to give a detailed recap of their favorite TV show, but could they give an equally detailed description of the candidates and their stances on major issues? For that matter, could they even name the candidates?

On Super Tuesday, I asked several of my friends, both from home and at Geneseo, if they had voted. My question either went unanswered, or was met with a response like, "I don't know where to go for that," or even worse, "Vote? For what?" Some didn't know what a primary was, others just didn't vote because they hadn't been following the race and knew nothing about the candidates.

What really scares me is that these are intelligent, or at least relatively smart, young people who do well in school. They are in tune to the latest pop culture and tabloid news, are keen on textbook information and class notes, but are actually completely oblivious and indifferent to the bigger picture - the real world and its politics.

What the youth of America doesn't understand is that pretty soon, the fate of America and its politics will rest in our hands. We will no longer be able to turn on the tube and flip past "boring" political debates and interviews to find a channel that will fill our mind with the latest celebrity gossip or the craziest TV drama. We will have no choice but to wake up and pay attention and contribute to the politics of our nation.

With the responsibility of political power just around the corner, we should realize that how we vote now will affect the state of the country when our generation is in charge.

So if you missed out on the primaries, it's not too late to redeem yourself. Pick up a newspaper, flick on the news and visit campaign Web sites - you have until Nov. 4.

Liz Doyle is a freshman English major. Her main turnoffs are hair in the shower and political apathy.