Taking the reigns

Millennial generation needs to become politically aware before Election 2020

Maddie Grant, Copy editor

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Prior to Nov. 8, like many other Americans, I was eager to put the election behind me. I was ready for the barrage of news to cease and for the circus that had pitched its tent in America since June of last year to fold up and leave. After Election Day, I hoped I would finally regain peace of mind and no longer feel encroached upon by the media.

Well, Election Day came and went, but the circus is still in town. I opened Twitter on Nov. 9 to mania; it felt much more post-apocalyptic than post-election. The more I scrolled, the more deflated I felt. After managing to escape the black hole of Twitter and putting my phone down, there were still frenzied reporters and political analysts on my TV.

Many politicians including President Obama felt compelled to give speeches offering a positive message in an attempt to appease the public. However more than a month later, as Inauguration Day creeps closer and closer, this country is still in the fragile state it was the day after the election.

While the future feels alarmingly uncertain, many students may have forgotten that all current RMHS students will be able to participate in the next Presidential Election. Frighteningly, our generation is soon going to be handed the reins of this country. Although that includes inheriting quite a few systematic flaws within our government and a whole lot of debt, it also means we will have more of an influence on this country than ever before.

So, when Decision 2020 and the circus inevitably roll around again, do not call it quits and hibernate in Canada. It’s too easy to hang your head about the torn state of our country and complain about American politics. Instead, feel emboldened to take initiative.

Since voting age has just or is about to be bestowed upon you, it’s time to study up on who’s on the ballot. Take the time to research. Does this candidate’s values line up with yours? Do you agree with their stances on policy? If yes, would you be comfortable with them representing you? An uneducated vote is just as a dangerous as no vote.

If you’re someone who feels less inclined to even cast a ballot in four years, understand that passiveness never creates change. According to CNN, only about 55 percent of voting age citizens voted in this year’s election, the lowest turnout in two decades. Imagine how different the results of any election could be if everyone actually participated.

If you still aren’t convinced, perhaps you’re under the impression that your vote won’t really matter. Or, maybe your excuse is you don’t like either political candidate. If so, my reply is please don’t be a coward. I cannot emphasize enough that passiveness is not what this country needs right now. Every vote makes a difference, just look at Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, states where President Elect Trump won by by margins of less than 2 percent. The amount of votes Trump won by in each of these states is less than the total population of Arlington Heights. If Hillary Clinton had won these three states, she would have sealed the presidency with 274 electoral votes. Essentially, a difference of 107,000 people decided the election.

In today’s age, when politics are becoming increasingly seedy, it is crucial that the next generation of voters become as educated as possible about how the government works and evaluate to whom exactly we’re handing power.  And if you don’t like who is leading this country, remember, you will have the power to vote them out in four years.