Today, children and young adults find themselves entangled in a political sphere in which the future no longer seems guaranteed.
The present, as we have known it, is being permanently altered through a global pandemic that has paralyzed our country and shed light on the deep divisions within it. All the while, young voices crying for help are regarded as political … but at what point do politics cease to be just politics? At what point can we recognize that we have transcended beyond rhetoric — and now find ourselves in a political climate where our decisions mean life or death?
Our youth find themselves at the center of issues such as a gun violence epidemic, limited access to mental health resources, educational inequities, a housing crisis, climate change, food insecurity, police brutality, and so on. They find themselves in a country that was built on capitalist greed and colonialist violence. They find themselves in a country that was not built to sustain them, both physically and metaphorically — and they are angry. Angry that their cries for justice will not be heard. Angry that higher education is more closely associated with chronic student debt than the pursuit of knowledge. Angry that our planet has an expiration date that we will see in our lifetime if we do not make a change. Angry that the future seems to rest in the hands of those who do not represent us.
Do I think voting will solve the issues I’ve outlined? Not necessarily.
I think voting is a part of the complex formula for change. I think we could better fight these issues under the Biden administration, but the key word there is “we.” It is not the people who won’t live to see the ramifications of the policy they enact, it is not the people who will be able to afford a one way ticket to Mars when Earth becomes uninhabitable, or the people who long for “America to be made great again.”
We know the issues we are facing are systemic — built into the foundation of what we knew as normal. I think the choice of this vote is like deciding how far away we want to start from the finish line of a race that won’t be over once the election ends.
I’m voting for a future our youth can count on — and I am counting on our youth to pave the way.
she / her / hers
SLiCE Youth Development Lead