Why We All Need To Start Giving A Damn

Politics is boring. At least for most millennials. For someone in their late teens/early 20s, assignments, work and social lives are the main priorities. Being politically aware seems more like tomorrow’s problem.

And perhaps there was a time when it was okay to not really care about politics.

But that time has gone.


It’s 2017. Donald Trump is in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world and things are looking very bleak.

At a time when the “president” is fighting to push the world’s progress back decades, we must fight back.

Hate and intolerance are being manipulated into society by fear mongering tactics and demonisation of minority groups, including Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ citizens, and other people of colour or diversity.

I like to think I’m quite socially aware these days. But it wasn’t a conscious choice I made to be involved in politics at such a young age. I was kind of forced into it, without realising. I became more and more aware of these important world issues, not because I was interested in the government, but simply because I was interested in MY future.

Are we really going to sit back while other people make decisions for us? I’m sure as hell not!

In this day and age, and with everything that’s going on right now, we cannot afford to be passive citizens. We cannot afford to just accept our fate.

This is OUR WORLD. These are OUR FUTURES. We cannot sit back and let other people dictate what happens in OUR LIVES.

“I believe the need for impartial journalism is greater than it has ever been, because we live now in a world of affinity-based media, where citizens can and do construct echo chambers of their own beliefs. It is altogether too easy to feel “informed” without ever encountering information that challenges our prejudices.” — Bill Keller, Journalist and winner of a Pulitzer Prize

It is so easy to get caught up in a bubble and search for things you want to see/read/hear. This won’t help you. In order to be truly invested in your future, you have to look at something from EVERY angle. Read up on what the opposition is suggesting. Weigh up all the viewpoints. Only then will you be able to make important and justifiable choices.

Social media is helpful in order to spread awareness. But social media alone is not enough. Tweeting about who should be elected is not the same as actually going out to vote. Complaining to your friends about unfair policies is not enough to change them. Disapproving of discrimination is not the same as fighting against it.

We deserve change. We deserve to have our voices heard. But in order for that to happen, we have to make sure we speak up. We have to make sure it is heard by the right ears. We HAVE TO BE proactive.

Two polls I conducted, asking millennials about their political awareness and involvement

Here are the voting demographics for the 2016 presidential election:

Most millennials voted for Hillary

Above is what the voting demographics could have looked like, however, an estimated one million millennials who previously voted democrat, simply didn’t vote in 2016. That only equals 5% of millennial democrats, however, clearly it made a huge difference.


And it’s not just the USA. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage used fear of financial stability and general wellbeing to incite hatred in a very culturally diverse Britain. He, too, demonised immigrants and claimed to have British nationals’ interests at heart while pushing for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Below are the voting demographics for the EU referendum in 2016. Over 50% of 18–44 year olds voted to remain.

Over 22.5% of 18–25s had no intention of voting. Almost 15% didn’t feel they knew enough about the referendum.

The portion of Leave voters who regret their vote, or “don’t know”, is greater than the total margin of victory for Brexit. This regret could have been avoided if more people made an effort to read up on the referendum before casting/not casting their vote.


Recently there has been an outcry of far-right supporters (republicans, UKIP supporters, etc.) branding the left as “snowflakes”.

One man has created a “snowflake test” to determine which potential employees are ‘overly sensitive’ or ‘too easily offended’. These candidates, along with those who don’t support the 2nd Amendment Right to bear arms, won’t be considered for the job.

“A snowflake is somebody who is going to whine and complain and come to the table with nothing but an entitled attitude and an inability to back their perspective.” says Kyle Reyes, creator of the test, (and evidently someone who is so ‘overly sensitive’ he can’t employ anyone with opposing views to his own)

But let’s push aside the hypocrisy and irony and humour these “snowflake” definitions:

As the majority of millennials are politically left, being a “snowflake” is how they are viewed to right wing supporters. So, let’s change that. I’m not saying don’t whine and complain — Whine louder. Complain to the right people. Make sure that you ‘come to the table’ with alternative ideas, if you don’t agree with the ones that are already in place. Make sure you’re well informed enough to present your perspective in a thought-provoking, well-rounded manner. Prove that you SHOULD have a say in how your city, your country, your world is governed.


The Women’s March 2017

Let’s talk about the Women’s March. People all over the world attended their respective local marches on January 21, 2017. It was estimated that at least 470,000 people attended the Washington march alone.

The Women’s March was a way to protest against Trump’s defunding of Planned Parenthood.

But it was also used as a platform to encourage people to stand up against injustice and discrimination of any kind.

People took to the streets to prove they wouldn’t be bullied into submission. That they wouldn’t just turn on their ‘minority citizen’ friends and neighbours.

Speaking up DOES make a difference. This one march showed unification. Love. Acceptance. Hope.


Obamacare

Obamacare still stands in America and millions of people will get the affordable healthcare they so desperately need. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the everyday-working, ordinary citizens who simply called up their local political representatives to persuade them to vote against Trumpcare. All it took was one phone call from one person who wanted to get their voice heard.

Let’s be real: ‘Trumpcare’ was a bit of an oxymoron, anyway.


Obviously not all millennials have the same views. You don’t have to be left wing. You don’t have to agree with me, or my political views. But at the end of the day, ALL of our futures are affected by every political decision made. I did not write this to fuel my own political agenda. The best way to take back control of your OWN life is to make sure you’re well informed on these issues and that you actively contribute to making a change. Indifference is a luxury we cannot afford. Vote. Vote for whomever you want. Spread awareness about issues that are important to you. Stay up to date with the news. But be well-informed. Weigh up all your options. Support things that will have a positive impact on the future of this world. It is in YOUR best interest to do so.

The stakes are too high to do nothing.