I’m usually considered part of the millennial generation, which means I’m either touted as the group of people that will demand world change for the future (i.e. the beginnings of the Arab Spring) or I’m brushed off as a group of people that wants world change, but will start working on it tomorrow, once we’re caught up on our Instagram (i.e. what every one of your baby boomer relatives reminds you when you’re using your phone to avoid conversations about their Medicare plan).
I hope we turn out to be the former, but instead of ponder what challenges we face or why we should push for change (because I already did that about four years ago), I want to discuss an opportunity we have that is currently staring us in the face: election season.
I’ll just start out with my biggest point: we don’t want Trump as President of the United States. I hope anybody reading this already understands why, but if you don’t, you should check out John Oliver’s summary, which is about as good of an explanation as any you could find. (Note: if you haven’t checked out any of John Oliver’s other monologues, I highly recommend them. His video on food waste is one of my favorites.)
However, it is still entirely possible for Trump to become POTUS, as Super Tuesday has re-enforced. This is where my generation steps in. Voter turnout for young adults is amongst the lowest. So, when young voters are showing that their favorite candidates are Bernie and Cruz, not Trump, it makes a difference when we don’t show up to the polls. It means that Trump could become president.
It comes down to the question my generation has been facing: will we demand change in the world right now or will we wait for that change to happen tomorrow? If Trump becomes president, I have no doubt that lack of young voter turnout will be at least partially to blame. We will become the generation that allowed Trump to become president. (I can say that again if I need to, but I really don’t want to.) The alternative is that we step in to demand change in our system, show up to the polls, and vote for the candidates that will make positive differences in our country. It is that we begin to shape our generational voice into something that isn’t associated with technology and laziness.
This election could very well determine not only how my generation is perceived in the future, but also whether or not we make global change a priority into the future. After all, if we can’t bother ourselves to fill out a paper one day of the year to contribute to the next four years of our country, how will we condemn climate change? As a young voter myself, I urge my peers to consider this election system as more than a transition of leadership in the presidency. It will be a representation of our leadership as a generation.