One of the worst things about Brett Kavanaugh’s approved nomination by the Senate to the Supreme Court was that it didn’t surprise me at all. It was just another reminder of how little America actually cares about women’s rights. Even after all of the testimonies and interviews that clearly proved he assaulted Dr. Ford, the old white men in high positions of power who do not accurately represent America as a whole still decided that he was a good candidate for the highest court in our country. Surprise, surprise.
According to the Congressional Research Service’s profile of the 115th Congress, the average age for members of the House is 57.8 years and 61.8 years for Senators, one of the oldest averages in American history. Of the 535 total members, only 112 are women. 89 out of 435 for the House and 23 out of 100 for the Senate. African Americans make up 9.4 percent of the total Congressional membership, with 48 in the House and 3 in the Senate. As for Hispanic/Latino members, they make up 8.5 percent of Congress with 41 in the House and 5 in the Senate. 3.3 percent of Congress is Asian or Pacific Islander, specifically 15 members in the House and 3 in the Senate. There are only two Native Americans in Congress and both of them are in the House. 97 percent of Congress is religious, with 90 percent of that number being Christian and predominately Protestant. The majority of members have a college degree and are well educated, with careers in law, business and other public policy sectors. Basically, our lawmakers are upper-class white men who ignore the voices of minorities and women in favor of their own singular interests. They aren’t representing the voices and people of the United States to the best of their ability, and it is up to us to change that.
There was an insane amount of backlash for Kavanaugh’s nomination and yet Congressmen refused to listen to their constituents. This has to change. Our lawmakers are supposed to respect our wishes and values instead of putting theirs above ours.
We need to see ourselves reflected in Congress; in the people who make the laws for our country and influence our everyday lives. It is more important than ever that you register to vote and actually vote in ALL elections. Your vote equals your voice. If you don’t use your voice to speak up in government, then nothing will ever change. Social change always starts at the grassroots and with the people demanding action: the suffragette marches in the 20s, Civil Rights movements of the 50s and 60s, March for Our Lives, #MeToo and so on. The 18 to 24-year-old demographic spearheads these rebellions because we’re still young enough to think that the world can change. We aren’t as jaded and cynical as older generations. We still have hope. Anger can ignite change, but only hope for a better future can actually see it through.
If you are unsure about where to vote or how to vote if you are in college or abroad, check out vote.org! They have tons of resources and information about primaries, general elections and the midterms coming up in November.
If you take anything from this article, let it be this: If the millions of people who said “My vote doesn’t matter” had voted in the 2016 election, would our country be such a mess right now? Would a sexual abuser be sitting on the Supreme Court, interpreting the laws that govern us?