I love that you are interested in this. Interest is the first place to start. I agree with the above link. I also wanted to include the oft forgotten art of writing your senators and representatives. This is even easier to do now with email, and as a future voter, your voice is highly important. I think most political officials would agree that they do not feel as connected to the younger generation of voters.
The best thing to do is to find a current topic that is actually of interest to you. You don't really even have to do much research to do this... honestly, watching the news or listening to NPR is a pretty quick way to start. Write a short, but carefully worded note doing one of the following: 1) thank him/her for voting a certain way on a bill of interest to you, and say why; 2) ask him/her to either support or not support a current bill or law on the floor; or 3) you can also simply say one or two issues that are important to you and why.
Of all the times I've written to my senators, I've actually received pretty timely responses.
I hope this helps. Bravo to you.
A book that might be of interest to you: The One Hour Activist by Christopher Kush (see link to Amazon below)
You would be surprised how many young people are beginning to work for campaigns. I would say a motivated teen has more power than the vote of one adult, especially if they can volunteer their time and work for a political campaign now. I have had many students work for campaigns in the past with great joy. They will have you make phone calls, distribute flyers, work rallies, and many other things.
The best vote right now is a silent one, or one who doesn't vote at all because that is a help to one's opposing viewpoint. So, get out there and talk with people who would vote or could vote the way you do.
You can write your congressperson or senators at both the state and federal levels. They need to hear from the future. Many of them have websites. You are a citizen with value even if not of voting age. Your legislator's job is to listen to who they represent. Write them about your positions regularly. You will receive responses.
I would think that a page can be taken out of the last presidential election. A primary reason why the President was elected was because of the youth vote and the rallying around a cause of change that became infectious. The proliferation of information technology and widened fields of communication and information exchange is changing politics. Young people being technologically savvy can use this in spreading the word about candidates and communicating with others about political awareness. I think utilizing technology could be vital in getting more people turned on to political realities because more people can be heard and impacted. When students in Iran this past summer needed an outlet to voice their dissatisfaction with the results, they did not take to newspapers. They tweeted, sent out messages on facebook and myspace and, in the process, rallied people around the world to their cause.
I think a good place to begin the voyage into political matters is to deal with a topic that grabs your attention. A subject area that you may feel strongly about is a good take off point. You may read your local newspaper, or see postings in the neighbourhood for specific clubs or teams that could be of interest to you. Once you have a subject matter, it will be natural for you to want to say or do something to either gain the respect of others about your thoughts, or to persuade others to agree with your beliefs. You could communicate your belief in the subject matter by going to a meeting, writing a letter, beginning a petition, etc... Having others hear what you have to say about a specific topic will generate interest in others to join the cause! The first thing to do is to find the area that interests you... get to it!!!
Teenagers can get involved in politics in many ways. There are political clubs and organizations that are made specifically for teens. You can probably find out about these clubs by contacting your local library or talking to a school guidance counselor. Another way is sharing your opinions and points of view with others. Teens love Facebook and this is a great place to do this.
There is a website you should visit. I listed the link below. It is a group called the Young Politicians of America. You can become a member for free. They have an online newspaper and you can also attend meetings. If they do not have meetings near you, you can start your own group. It is a great way to interact and communicate with other teens who are involved in politics. It is a great way to speak out!
I think the easiest way to get involved would be to volunteer within your community. If you have an idea as to whether or not you are a democrat or a republican, you can see where the nearest association is and get involved with them. When I was in college, our local offices were always in dire need of volunteers to help campaign, or just stuff envelopes and answer phones. It may not be what you ultimately want to do, but it's a good starting point, and it will most definitely lead to other things! It's a great way to network.
Politicians have big egos, call their office and make an appointment to see them, tell them that you like some of their policies and you want to learn from them. Ask them if you can just "hang around", but also volunteer to help in any way you can. Share your aspirations with them. They will eat this up.
I'd like to echo what others have noted here -- get involved. I have personally volunteered for campaigns that would be thrilled to have young people take part. Whether it's a local candidate for school board or a candidate for president, political candidates get heard and get votes one person at a time. People of any age can make phone calls, stuff mailers, help at events, deliver yard signs, and talk to interested voters about their views. Helping with campaigns also helps people realize that issues have faces, sound bites from the TV have real stories behind them, and democracy works when folks get involved.
It may not be a very good idea to begin your political involvement with attempts of being heard. The best thing is to begin by listening and understanding the political situation. Knowing what is going on around you in the political environment and how it affects you and others. Once you have developed a good understanding of these matters it will be easy for you to come to good decision on what is right and what is wrong in politics. Then you will be able do decide wisely about what needs be done in the political arena. And then you will also be more successful in being heard, and convincing others about your views.