I waited 19 years to do my civic duty.
I drove over half an hour to go home to the polls and vote for the next President of the United States. A president that I thought would carry on the leaps and bounds of progress that President Obama has made.
We now have marriage equality for all, troops back on American soil, universal healthcare for all, and the economy is healthier than it has been in years. Yet, the American people went to the polls and I slowly watched as fear crept into the hearts of so many different people across this country.
Muslims, Hispanics, women, African-Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, and so many others now fear for their safety, and we have essentially told that they are unimportant in this election. I had to turn the TV off before Trump’s acceptance speech. My body was in physical pain as I cried, imagining the progress that had been made slowly slip away as January approaches and President Elect Donald J. Trump takes office.
We now live in a world where the Vice-President Elect believes in electroshock conversion therapy for the LGBTQ+, anti-gay discriminatory laws, charter schools, and a right to work society. We live in a world where sexual assault, racism, and Islamophobia have been normalized. I pray for so many people across this country.
I do not hate Republicans. I do not hate people who celebrated election night. I respect that everyone has their own opinions. What I believe, is although they claim to not be misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or Islamophobic, they have voted in a way that states that they are okay with the normalization of such rhetoric. It mirrors the bully and bystander relationship that is so prevalent in high schools and middle schools.
But the one thing I saw election night that gave me hope, was Survey Monkey's collected data from the polls that showed what the election would have looked like if only Millennials (18-34) had voted. Hillary would have won the election with a whopping 467 electoral votes to 71 on Trump’s side.
The future is not grim despite the outlook of the next four years. Millennials care about progress, about people, and about the environment. Millennials care about this country in an overwhelming outcry for change not only for themselves but the nation as well. We believe in an America where all people of color, religion, sexuality, and gender may feel welcomed. We believe that the glass ceiling can be shattered. We believe in closing the gender gap. We believe in Trans rights.
We believe in equality.
We don’t believe that this nation belongs to just white males.
We believe in the separation of church and state because a woman who wears the hijab should not be afraid to walk the streets of her college campus, so that everyone has the right to marry, and that women are not forced to carry a child that is the result of rape.
This nation belongs to the people who came here searching for the American Dream and did so despite any obstacles that stood in their way. Whether it was a language barrier, discrimination, or socioeconomic struggles. This is a nation of underdogs.
For so long the older generations have looked at Millennials and have feared for the direction we will take this country. They have overlooked us time and time again. We are the underdogs this time. In a few short years, many of us may be eligible to run for local, state, and congressional offices. Many of us will be in the workforce in full swing. This is the time for us to make a change.
Millennials are powerful. We have a voice.
Election night proved that, as progressive Millennials, we are ready for the future to progress, not move backward.
I have faith in my generation. I will always be proud to say I voted blue and for progress.
I will always be proud to say that I am a progressive Millennial. You should be too.