Can We Stop Discrediting Gen Z’s Willingness to Vote?

Whenever I hear someone talking about the 2020 election, they always talk about how Generation Z will not turn out to vote. Members of older generations, the media and politicians are quick to discredit young voters for being too consumed with social media or binge-watching Netflix. They think of us as “irresponsible” and “selfish.” They believe we are a joke. 

I am here as a representative for Gen Z to set the record straight: We are here, we have power, and we are ready to fight for our rights at the ballot box.

We are a generation that has grown up in a time of constant civil unrest. 

November is coming protest signs Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

We are the post-Columbine kids.

The ones who went to school every day fearful that someone would walk in and open fire with a semi-automatic weapon. The ones that crouched in the corner of a classroom or crawled under a desk, not knowing if this time was a drill or if an active shooter was walking the halls. The ones that watched in horror as politicians made the murder of children a partisan issue instead of coming up with solutions.

gun violence protest Unsplash

We are the ones that grew up in a post 9/11 world.

The ones who have never known the U.S. without The Department of  Homeland Security. The ones who grew up with troops overseas fighting terrorist groups, like ISIS and the Taliban, whose sole mission is to destroy American lives. The ones who were taught racist ideas about people who practice Islam and told to distrust anyone wearing a turban or hijab. 

We are the generation that grew up worrying about our Earth dying before our very eyes.

The ones that have had to face the sad reality that if we do not help save the environment now, the damage will impact our future. The ones who have had to question whether we want to have children of our own out of fear of overpopulation and destroying the planet even more. The ones who have heard politicians question scientists and discredit them for presenting the American people with climate change facts. 

there is no planet b Photo by Li-An Lim from Unsplash

We are the ones who carry on traditions and demand change.

We continue to demand equal pay for equal work, just like our mothers, aunts and grandmothers did. We continue to insist that lawmakers keep their laws from dictating what we do with our bodies. We stand for social justice like Dr. Martin Luther King and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did. We fight against the laws that say a civil union can only be between a man and a woman. We watch young Black Americans murdered on the evening news and take to the streets to demand action. 

Despite the horrible things we grew up with, Generation Z has banded together to fight our oppressors. Being too young to vote, our generation has hosted march after march, rally after rally, and protest after protest in an attempt to make change for ourselves and our future generations. We have used social media as a tool to unite people across the country and world. 

protest sign that says Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Yet we are continually ridiculed by members of older generations for using such platforms to unite one another. We have seen our current administration mock us and the things we care about. We are frequently discredited for not having enough life experience, yet we have lived through so many awful and shocking things. We have repeatedly been told that we are fools for thinking we can make a difference.

The 2020 Election is just another example of where Gen Z has been told we were powerless. Gen Z is not, however, powerless. As first-time voters, we hold the power of democracy, of electing our leaders, of allowing our votes to do the talking. We do not take this power for granted. 

The joke’s on them because Gen Z is strong, powerful and we will make a difference, not just in this election, but for the rest of our lives and the lives of future gens.

Please, get out and VOTE!

Photos: Her Campus Media