If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” – Malcom X
The right to vote: it’s the right we as Americans pride ourselves on, but seem to take for granted and throw by the wayside every November. I’ll admit it I find myself less than motivated when it comes to voting season. I’ve realized that I vote not because I want to but because I feel I should. Sadly, there are times where I’ve felt too tired after work, so I just drove home instead of exercising my civic duty. I’ve become pretty apathetic toward voting and becoming politically involved.
But recently, something has changed. I’m at a turning point in my life: school for me will be wrapping up in May and I’ll be entering the real world. I won’t be guarded by the security of school and the dependence my parents afforded me. I’ll be back to living on my own with an adult job and the perks of paying of my student debt while trying to make the best life possible for myself.
But then certain things started popping up in the news about student loan debt and how it doesn’t seem to be on the radar of most politicians. Then I started thinking to myself: How can politicians not want to help those just entering the workforce by allowing them to start off on the most stable foot possible? Interest rates on student loans are ridiculously high making it more difficult for young people like myself to climb out of debt. I had the luxury of avoiding dorming costs at college, and managed to pay my own rent and bills for the year I lived in my own apartment. However, some people have no choice but to dorm and as a result take those costs on.
Then I went to a conference on social justice back in November where I learned about issues like immigration, foreign policy and climate change. Needless to say, these issues were completely off my radar, until I took the time to sit and listen to how these issues affect us. That is where I think the problem lies – most people are not concerned enough to sit for just a few minutes, do a little research and see where they, themselves, stand on an issue. I won’t lie when it came to immigration, I never really knew where I stood. But I took the time and I feel better educated because of it. I even went so far as to do my own research beyond the conference I went to. Immigration is a huge problem. I get that now and I also feel like I have a better standing on the issue.
Not only did I find myself better educated on issues, but my eyes were really opened to how out-of-date our politics are. I have felt so disengaged and unmotivated when it comes to politics because of the old cronies in Washington who seem to think the same things that have worked in the past will keep working. I read a very insightful and powerful article that shows an enormously high number of incumbent representatives continue to get elected, over and over and over. If it is broke – we need to fix it and if what we have been doing hasn’t been working, for the love of God, try something else! It is sad that our Congress has been one of the most ineffective in history, yet we don’t seem to be making the right changes. It seems like we play ping-pong between Democrats and Republicans every major election year.
I’ve been frustrated to say the least that not only is my generation not taken seriously, but the very insightful input we have isn’t taken into account. I can only hope we can penetrate the status quo wall to save our country from continued injustice and ignorance.
That isn’t to say that every politician out there is crooked beyond repair. I find that there are many out there that make a difference and that is why I am going to pay special attention to the upcoming Presidential election. That is what gives me hope and also motivates me to vote – to support the tides that will lead to a more effective and conscientious government. I’m hoping other millennials won’t be apathetic toward voting or disengaged, because we are the future leaders and we need to get serious about our government right this second.
It took some work and time on my part, but I finally feel motivated to be involved. Part of my motivation has come from frustration, but I have to say even more so my motivation has come from learning and improving our world. I want the best for myself, yes, but I also want the best for everyone around me. Only when we are all at our best can our world truly thrive. I’m all for trying to create a world that is stable and successful for everyone. That means taking all issues seriously and trying to be innovative when it comes to decision-making.
I’ve looked at many issues that seem to be hot button issues for the upcoming election. I’ve looked at them through my own lens – what I have researched through my own education and spirituality. I’ve done the same with potential candidates as the campaigning starts to kick off soon.
Whether you seem interested or not, I urge you to just give it a few minutes, spend some time in the news, educating yourself and finding where you stand in the vast arena of our political issues.
I have found my reason to stand up, and I hope you do, too. If we don’t stand for something, how will we ever get anywhere better than where we are now?