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Dear Baton Rouge: What You Want Lies In Your Hands

Photography by Scottie.O

Recently, I saw a flyer for an event entitled “What Millennials Want”. My immediate thought was whatever they want, I hope they are ready to vote for it! While those aged 18-34 make up 23 percent of the pool of registered voters, they are only 13 percent of likely voters, according to polls. And fewer than 1 in 3 people under 30 are projected to cast a ballot in the midterm elections this November. Millennials, along with Generation X and Z, must become active participants in upcoming elections in greater numbers than projected in order to achieve the things that matter to them most.
The issues at stake are far too important in both the short and long term for the young among us to simply be spectators. Access to healthcare, student loan debt, wages and the taxes you pay will all be impacted by the decisions made in elections in the very near future. Locally, matters such as St. George becoming its own city and the quality of schools the children in our community will attend will all be determined in the voting booth.
While it is impossible for you to predict where you will be in life years from now, you can rest assured that the people elected and the policies they advance will impact your life. It is in your own self interest to ensure your voice is heard and your perspective clearly presented.
Politics is, in the final analysis, a game of mathematics. When votes are tabulated the only question being answered is how many. Every politician, especially the ones who win elections, understand the “numbers game”. Do millennials?
If the projections are proven true, it will be an amazing waste of mathematical advantage. Millennials alone have been on the cusp of overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest living adult generation, according to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data. The monumental shift is projected to take place in 2019. But what good is an advantage if not taken advantage of?
For all of your life you have lived in a world shaped by other people’s opinions and values. Isn’t it time that you begin to shape not only your world, but the world that those who will come after you will experience? Based solely on numbers, the Millennial – Generation X & Z bloc should be terribly important to those who serve in elected office. Only your active participation in the election process will make it so.
Think your one vote won’t make a difference? Remember that Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States by 107,000 votes in 3 states. That 107,000 votes represents 0.09 percent of the 120 MILLION votes cast in the election. One need only ask the evangelical community whether exercising electoral might yields tangible benefit. Or better still, maybe the question should be placed before Associate Justice Kavanaugh. Please trust me when I say your vote matters, and the more of you who vote, the more it matters.
So whatever it is that you want in the world, going to vote on November 6th is an important step in making it happen!
Raymond A. Jetson is an Encore Public Voices Fellow and Chief Executive Catalyst at MetroMorphosis

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