Millenials absent at polls

Bella Geroulis, Opinions Editor

I live in a very politically charged home, where Sunday morning cartoons were swapped with Bill Maher reruns and MSNBC. For me, voting for the first time after I turned 18 was like my family’s version of a Sweet Sixteen.

When I saw how only 40% of people aged 18-25 voted in the past presidential election, it made me realize something: it’s not our fault.

We have grown up in the “Vine Culture.” We have been groomed to have a shorter attention span, one that can handle six second clips and short captions of news under very large pictures. We don’t sit down and read a news article or watch a broadcast.

So naturally, being raised in this fast paced media culture, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand politics. Granted, anybody who truly cares can go ahead and educate themselves, but the sad reality of the matter is that less and less people want to put in the time.

But why? Why is it that in one of America’s most dynamic political scenes ever, the people who it will all effect most don’t care enough to get educated on the policies that will impact THEIR futures?

The answer lies somewhere among an American and global shift in values and focus. We no longer have the luxury of being able to read up on the most recent Supreme Court ruling or what new foreign trade deal is being passed. Now most youngsters are dealing with the student loan crisis in the US or how they’re going to be able to buy a house or a car.

When we talk about the rise of nationalism in the States, it’s usually in a negative tone. But it shouldn’t be thought of as completely bad.

Yes, a complete shutdown of our borders is bad and yes, minorities and different ethnic groups are essential to American values.

But we as Americans do need to focus on ourselves and our own domestic crisis.

We need to solve the issues in public and higher education. We need to help create jobs for people who have taken out thousands of dollars in student loans. We need to better the lives of people here in order to better the lives of people elsewhere.

However, the only way to do this is for young people to vote for the politicians and officials who have our best interests at heart.

Many people thought I was foolish or idealistic for voting for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, but I gave Senator Sanders my vote because I believed he did in fact have my best interests at his heart, and the interests of the millions of disenfranchised people all over this country.

Vote for whoever you want. Whether you’re democrat or republican, black or white, gay or straight, just go to your polls and vote. We cannot just hope for a better tomorrow, we need to take it upon ourselves to act on these wishes.

If you don’t like the people on the ballot, as many people felt this past election season, advocate for the people you DO want on the ballot. Make your future your priority, and don’t let the 70 year old Floridans decide your future for you.