Being as politically keen and opinionated as I am, I think it is only appropriate that I write something about the soon-to-be most powerful man on earth.
I think to our generation, politics has been seen as uncool, rigid and all about the establishment since we have been old enough to comprehend it. And whilst it is a worrying thing that young people feel the need to isolate themselves from the system and deny themselves from voting, it also provides hope, that if we can change our mindsets, then we can change the world.
We must not be disheartened, because amidst a world that now seems to be full of xenophobic, misogynistic people who only care for themselves, is a future that voted for equality, peace and love for every race, gender and religion.
Looking at the votes from 18-25 year olds shows a starkly different picture. A picture of hope. Because this is the future.
So how come, in a world where it is OUR generation who will see the lifelong consequences of global war, recessions, inequality and social unrest that we keep throwing OUR voice and OUR power into the hands of the retirees who are due to check out conveniently before any global crisis sparks?
And as unaesthetically pleasing as all of these graphs and statistics are, they show not only just how adamant the 60+ population is about voting for what’s best for them, but also how much room for change there is for us future generations.
The low blue line on the graph represents the future. And whilst we could feel defeated by simply looking at it, we must also see it as opportunity. The election was so heated, so close and so divided, but yet still 43.1% of eligible Americans denied themselves of their voice on November 9th. And of that 43.1%, it was us, the youth, the future, who were the biggest offenders.
We have an opportunity, as fair and as equal as our older counterparts, and we MUST start using it. We are a generation who believes in climate change, gay marriage and equality for everyone. We are the generation who has the potential to make the greatest changes.
In little New Zealand, we too have this problem. In our 2014 election 212,204 18-24 year olds voted, which might not seem alarming, until you compare it to the 362,030 people who voted and were aged 70 years and older.
What I am trying to get at by this is that like the American election we just witnessed on every single television screen and form of social media, we must not lose hope. Our future is currently being decided by elderly people who are afraid of change, who are afraid of immigrants, who think global warming is a hoax, but yet, year after year we give them the power to decide how the future, the policies and the life we live will be.
So to the youth of the world, the power lies within us.
Politics is not “uncool” or pointless, it determines our future, our future children’s future and the world’s future. Let this spark a new fire. A fire that burns and roars for a better, more equal life where love for others is more important than the bank accounts of the rich.
Keep this fire going, tend to it, look after it, and let it spread. Let it engulf and illuminate the future of the world, and this time, make sure everyone else can hear us.