I’ve been told a thousand times. I’m too young. Too naiive. Too uninformed. I’d rather watch reality tv than actual political debate. I don’t care about the issues.

Well maybe I do care, just not in the way you expect. Maybe the issue at the forefront of my mind isn’t rights or the debt or even the war on terror. Maybe what I care about most is having actually productive political discourse in this country. Allow me to elaborate.

I grew up in an age of an increasingly stagnant divided congress, an age of polarizing ideologies and the ability to attack anyone in the anonymity of the internet. An age where ad hominem attacks were the norm, not the scandal. An age that has culminated in the internationally ridiculed melodrama of the current presidential election. Imagine, for a moment, how discouraging that is.

Whenever I try to share a political opinion, or start a discussion on policy, I’m called an idiot, an asshole, a bitch, pussy, a bleeding heart liberal, or, worst of all, an entitled millennial.

I care about my country. I care about its future. I care about gay rights, abortion rights, privacy rights, the right to bear arms, the war on terror. I care about the deficit and the debt, and yes, I care about making sure people know the difference. As a result of all this caring, I have opinions. I’d like to be able to share them. I’m genuinely interested in the opinions of others.

What I’m not interested in? Fear mongering, demagoguery, and most of all, I’m not inretested in being told that I don’t know what I’m talking about. If I’m wrong, convince me of why I’m wrong. Don’t just tell me I’m too young to understand.

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