Go V%&# Yourself

“Vote” is not a bad word. But you wouldn’t know that from the way that many millennials avoid it. Newsweek states that only 49 percent of eligible millennials voted in the 2016 election compared to 69 percent of baby boomers. But, it has never been more important to vote in an election than it is today. At stake is control of the state legislatures, House of Representatives, and the Senate. The entirety of the House of Representatives, as well as a third of the Senate and many governorships, are up for grabs.

Getting millennials to vote is hard. It’s not something that many millennials are particularly interested in. Many young people are more interested in voting for the VMAs than in participating in an election. But actively participating in government has probably never been more important than it is today. The issues that are up include healthcare, voter restrictions, and possible investigations into President Trump and his administration as well as many others.

Many millennials are not interested because it seems like the political offices being voted on are in a different universe and have no real effect on their daily lives. To those that think that participating in elections doesn’t matter: you’re not paying attention.

A really important aspect of getting out to vote is taking control of your political future. It’s easy to complain about the way things are, but it takes effort and participation in order to change things. It can be frustrating when politically, things don’t always go your way. But that doesn’t mean that people should stop participating.

It may be easier to think about voting in elections as being a loyal sports fan. Sports fans participate by representing their team. They support their team each game, and if a game doesn’t go their way, then they may feel sad or angry, but they don’t give up and decide to stop watching sports. They keep rooting for their team through thick and thin and their loyalty helps support their favorite team. This is similar to politics with one difference: participating in elections makes a difference.

And yet, only 28 percent of young adults aged 18-29 said they were “absolutely certain” they were going to vote in the midterm elections compared to 74 percent of seniors in a poll by Public Religion Research Institute and the Atlantic. Younger voters should participate in elections since they will be around the longest to see the effects. By abstaining from voting, younger generations are allowing older generations to decide the course the country takes.

Being vocal about politics on social media is not enough. Millennials need to put in the work to vote. It may seem tedious and inconvenient, but voting can help decide the direction of the country for years. That is a long-term commitment that all citizens are apart of anyway, so they may as well vote so that they have a say in what happens. By not turning out, they allow others to control the national narrative.

Millennials are notoriously vocal about the issues they support. They would never allow others to speak for them. Which is why they should turn out and vote. The issues of today are too important and staying home is not an option.