Image courtesy of MegaAgent.
According to The United States Election Project, voter turnout for young people aged 18-29 has not been very impressive for a very long time. That age group has historically been the lowest to turn out to vote, topping at around 45% in 2014. In 2016, they were around 42%, with the majority voting for Hillary Clinton. Around 24 million votes were cast by that demographic, so doing some rough math, that left around 30 million votes that were not cast by the future of our country. That’s enough to make you shake your head in disgust at the very least.
Since Trump got elected (by the Electoral College, not the people), I have made some comments to fellow students at the local community college that I do not regret about how they need to become more involved with our political process. That’s advice I did not take when I was young, so I pretty much counted on it not being followed in this day and age since politics has become so much more divisive. I mean, I really can’t blame the youth of today from being disenfranchised when, as an adult, I frequently lose hope in our system. In my Introduction to Political Science class, I am sadly unsurprised by the fact that students have no idea about current events and frequently are at a loss to relate to history that has occurred in their lifetime. That frustrated me, but I understood it.
But, on March 24th, I may have changed my mind. When I watched the March for Our Lives protests on television, when I saw the photos from all around the country (and world!), when I heard the voices of young people – as young as 11 years old – promising that this would be the beginning of the revolution, I felt a swell of pride. There was hope seeping out of my cynicism.
No matter how you feel about gun control, if you feel anything but pride for our country and our future, then you are, quite frankly, an asshole. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were responsible for amassing around 800,000 protestors of all ages to peacefully petition their country. They registered voters and inspired voters to register. They fully engaged in our political system the way it was meant to be engaged in. These young adults are true American patriots and citizen leaders of the highest order.
I’m not going to point out the offenses that the NRA and others have perpetrated against them. Those people/groups are interested only in their own survival and not the public good. I hope they see that is the wrong choice because their days are indeed limited. Maybe they don’t see it, or maybe they do and they just want to go down fighting, but they are at the end of their ropes for sure. I can feel it. I hope you can, too.