#LetsTalkAboutIt: Why Don't We Vote? From Someone Who Still Has Hope

#LetsTalkAboutIt: Why Don't We Vote? From Someone Who Still Has Hope

In an era where young people live at home for what may well end up all eternity, where a degree means seemingly nothing to your future prospects, and young, talented individuals get stuck in meaningless jobs with seemingly no prospects, it has always struck me as bizarre that my generation is so disinterested in politics.

I fully understand the lack of appeal, it’s mainly out of touch, rich white guys in suits bickering and leering their statistics at each other, while failing to answer to the intermittent questions around genuine, tangible issues that affect our generation. Apathy is created from the disconnect between politicians and people, youthful expectations and reality, us and them. The whole notion of the millennial generation as the ‘other’ to politicians really drives the blaisé attitudes we have to politics – despite realistically being the main blockade between us and the social change we crave, but seem resigned to accept as impossible.

We rally around the sentiments that politicians are self serving, and must surely accept that every action which they take must surely have a self-serving purpose. Although a sweeping statement of nearly 700 MPs is surely going to have some outliners, as a person who grew up somehow interested in politics, the party system we live in today seems to perpetuate self serving decision making through the majority of parliamentary decisions.

People rarely stop to think about what politics is. To put at its most basic level, politics is the study of power. Politicians then, are people in power. A look back through history at powerful figures shows the paranoia which surrounds most powerful figures. From Kings in their high castles, to the modern day politics of fear and slander, the majority of powerful figures are mainly scared of losing the power they wield.

So #LetsTalkAboutIt: The disconnect between the youth and the powerful stand to serve what interest? It’s always seemed pretty clear to me that the major parties, and some minor ones, have their voter bases that has shifted marginally since the baby boomers came of age. The baby boomers are the largest voting demographic in the country, and have been the focus of mainstream politics since they started to vote in the 1970’s. They’re reliable to turn out in the voting booths, somewhat predictable in voting behaviour, and accordingly the political world has adjusted to best suit their needs. If a major party, or even a smaller party with a solid voter base, were to decide to try to swing the balance of their policies to take away some of the benefits older generations gain from this system, they risk complete collapse as their voters may well defect to rival parties. It seems as if the main reason for politics ignoring us is that they’re scared – scared of taking a gamble and losing the power which they hold so dear.

And can you blame the baby boomers, and other groups who turn out to the polls for the mess? Not really, for it’s a democracy, and the incentives for them to go and get what they want are there. It’s the millennials who suffer this disconnect who shoulder the burden as a whole, for idly sitting by and accepting it.

So how on earth do we get what we need out of politics with older generations priorities so much higher up the agenda? Well how have the marginalised made progress in the pass? How did women gain the vote? How did labour rights begin to favour the worker rather than their employees? It’s simple, we need to get our voices heard. Women’s suffrage was achieved when the political establishment feared public backlash from not granting voting rights, workers fights were cemented when the working class organised itself and took on the establishment, so surely if we bang the drum loud enough we can raise our concerns and needs in the public arena until the politicians stand to lose power if they don’t adhere to our message. We’ve got to go out and vote, we’ve got to cause outcry over social injustices, and we’ve got to make sure that people understand that we’re all in this mess together; and together is the only way in which we can escape; for only then can we begin to live in a world which caters to our own needs.

Written by Zac Harvey

Images via Google

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