Activism is trendy right now. Brands, celebrities, and probably all the people you grew up with are sharing their views, proving that sharing can be a powerful force. Taylor Swift spoke out about politics for the first time in her career and sparked a flurry of Tennessee voter registrations. Our knowledge, our words, and our communications are all powerful tools, amplified moreso by social media, and should not be discounted. However, the most important things are our actions.
My political interest reaches back into childhood, but like most people, I didn’t start to get passionately involved until the 2016 election. Supported by national trends and what I’ve seen at a local level, people care more about politics now than they have in my lifetime. Between the record number of women running for office and a record number of people registering to vote, it’s safe to stay that things appear to be getting ready to happen on a large scale.
This is exciting, but this momentum will only come to fruition if we put in the effort — which is why going to vote in the midterms is vital to improving our political ecosystem. Statistically, only around 40% of voters will turn out for a midterm election, with studies suggesting that percentage is much lower among millennials. Using your voice and increasing awareness is great — never, ever stop speaking up for what you believe in — but remember that voting is where all of that momentum starts making a difference.
The presidential elections have a lot of flash and flair, but the midterms are what determine what daily life is like for everyday Americans. The people elected in the midterms vote on bills, pass legislation, and determine how far-reaching the president’s power goes. So if you’re disheartened by the fact that your elected officials aren’t supporting your values, go vote. If you want to see change happen in your communities, go vote. If you want to feel represented on the city, state, and national level, please go vote. Register, check your registration often (even if you don’t think you need to), and be educated when the time comes to cast your ballot. Talk to your friends about candidates in your area, and share with them the importance of voting, too. By using our voice and our actions, we can prove that we’re stronger together.