ART BY KAYTE CHIEN
You’ve just turned 18. It’s election day. You feel confident: you just cast your first vote! For once, you have a voice, the power, to cause change in your city, state and country. Yet, three months later, you feel the negative effects of your vote: the policy you voted for actively harms you and your community.
You only have yourself—and the deceptive news source on Twitter you relied for information—to blame for your misguided decision.
Here in America, voting is a constitutional right that affects the composition of the government. This is what makes America, and other democratic countries, great. Regardless of whatever label is placed upon the government, the sentiment is clear: we, the people of the United States of America, have the right and the responsibility to vote.
Now, with the Nov. 6 midterm elections looming closer with each passing day, it is high time to remind our fellow citizens that voting as a right is a privilege given by our predecessors. Wars broke out conflicts arose and deaths ensued, all for the prospect to vote.
Following a time when Russian interference, Democratic National Convention corruption and electronic-ballot hacking ominously plagued the nation in the last presidential election, voting seems to have dwindled in significance for many millenials.
With all of the troubles that rigged elections, outdated voting systems and virtually disregarded votes pose for our country today, it is no surprise that people are opting out on this privilege that our country offers. While one can certainly make those points for a presidential election, it is astringent to uphold it for state, city and local ballots.
And with the midterm elections just around the corner, the frantic push to vote has flooded every facet of media. This push, surprisingly, is championed by the same millennials who alienated themselves during the 2016 primary election.
Finally, the absent millennials have reappeared, ready to take on their responsibility as a U.S. citizen. However, given the stalwart stance of the non-voting majority of millennials from prior years, this unforeseen shift changes virtually nothing. Despite these pushes for voting in the midterm election, however, several millennials remain hesitant to make a change by voting.
Millennials control a decisive 31% of the electoral process. Yet, the reluctance of this generation to vote drastically downplays the impact that such a sizable population has the potential to make on our country. As most millennials maintain liberal views in politics, this hesitation to vote quells any aspiration for left-wing politics to thrive in a conservatively dominated government.
Using data from the GenFoward Survey, which polled 1,910 individuals from ages 18 to 34 between the months of July and August, 2018 The Washington Post identified only around 23 percent of millennials as likely voters for the midterm election.
This reluctance to vote, to make a change, is selfish.
Ironically, while millennials, are relatively more open to protest, by way of marching or boycotting, they appear to be the generation that change the least.
Sadly, if this generation put as much effort in activism into voting, teacher unions would be largely established, public schools would be better funded and immigration laws would be vehemently reformed.
While overturning societal woes may be a priority of the activism-filled millennial agenda, it’s doubtlessly hard to overcome such a bold and broad goal when there is a lack of trustworthy information spread through popular media sources. Perhaps the Twitter article on immigration may have excluded information that contradicts its main point; or the Instagram post uses faulty statistics to strengthen its argument.
Maybe, President Trump’s admonishment of news outlets created this implicit credibility crisis; perhaps, the capitalist nature of cable news propagates this false journalistic repertoire; and possibly, the generation’s unwillingness to learn catalyzes the ignorance of media politics.
Regardless, our generation’s disinterest in politics no doubt paves way for a stronger conservative say in such actions as passing laws and electing government officials.
Why have the older generation plan the future of this country, when they won’t be around to experience it?
Essentially, by allowing the coined term “fake news” to uppercut the current generation, it inadvertently destroy any anticipation for change in the next.
Despite a variety of technological resources, the next generation of citizens responsible for the politics of the nation will remain largely misinformed about the government.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Sure, the widespread use of technology has increased awareness about political policies and administrative actions, but just how accurate are such sites or posts? After all, the purpose of so many of these sources is not so much to inform; rather, it is to persuade the gullible audience of the United States.
From Facebook to Instagram; Reddit to Youtube; and Fox News to CNN, in every aspect of media, there lies a glaring political slant. Unfortunately, these partisan accounts will only further an uneducated and uninformed political divide.
As the brandished phrase “fake news” constantly grazes the tongues of multimedia outlets, faulty statistics and propagandic accounts snug themselves right in the minds of many prospective voters. Whether influenced by corporate cash or lack of information, the next generation is dangerously susceptible to the ever-growing pick-me-political crisis.
Thus, the need to vote and the grasp of politics is becoming increasingly indispensable; and its unmistakable void in these prior years are the woes affecting the democratic process today.
However, there is a solution: receiving information from an accredited, unbiased news source places oneself on the roads to making informed political choices. By truly understanding the political climate of today, one can ensure their view is represented through voting.
As the midterm elections approach, determining the future of this country, it is up to the current generation of millennial voters to set an example for the next.