To my generation,
Our generation has never been as engaged with voting in the way older generations have. Which is sad because it means politicians target policies at older people and ignore us because they think we are too lazy/uninterested/busy having sex and taking drugs to go out and vote. While it shouldn’t be our responsibility to fix the fact that we are often alienated by politicians, it has now become infinitely important for us to fix this ourselves.
Hope causes change: What I love about us is that we are optimistic and hopeful and more tolerant than other generations. We aren’t cynical yet. We still (just about) believe that we can be the next Steve Jobs or the next Scarlett Johansson or the next PM and I don’t think we understand how powerful this is. Optimism and a hope for a better future is what causes this to happen. We have this. We are an optimistic generation. Cynicism or pessimism breed thoughts such as “ah well, there’s nothing we can do to fix it” or “it won’t make a difference” but optimism encourages the complete opposite. We believe we can change the world so we do.
“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do” maybe Steve Jobs?
The more we positively impact politics, the more politics will positively impact us: It shouldn’t work this way but it does. It’s become so common for politicians to be focused more on their careers than on their constituents and very often they will target policies to those who are more likely to vote.
CASE STUDY: The General Election 2015
As you can see almost 80% of people aged 65 and over voted in the last general election compared to only 43% of 18-24 year olds. Compare that to this table which broadly outlines the policies that would primarily impact those age demographics.
It’s not surprising that the majority of parties have more policies (and positive policies) directed towards the pensioners because they are more likely to vote. Therefore, political parties gear policies to persuade them to vote for their party as it seems crucial to gain the support of the older generation in order to win.
Therefore, if our generation could be depended on to go out and vote in an election, we would be more likely to have positive policies aimed at us in order to entice us. I totally understand many of us may argue this shouldn’t be how politics should work and I agree but it’s one way we can begin to get our voices heard.
Which leads me on to…
We have a powerful, united voice: I saw this so clearly during Brexit. Our generation completely united behind the remain campaign regardless of many other differences. For the first time in my life I saw us engaged and debating. My social media was filled with the voices of my friends, many of whom I would never have expected to join the debate. It was amazing to see and in the bleak days after the referendum result it was the one positive I found myself being drawn back to. During campaigns that tried to divide us, our generation stood together and we proved what we can do.
We must now utilise that strength, engagement and unity and build on what have begun to achieve. We shouldn’t be forgotten because of our age and we certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. We are as important as any other voter. We are them.