I was 13 when I first heard John Mayer’s song, “Waiting on the World to Change.” If you haven’t heard it, the gist is that right now, things could use improvement. Our leaders aren’t going to improve them, but someday, some bright and sunny day, we’ll be in charge and we can change the things they won’t.
I am not a fan of this song. Musically, it’s catchy as hell - but it's the message that gets me. It’s defeatist. It says, “There are problems in the world!” “No point trying to do anything, you’re powerless! Wait! Wait and watch the problems grow! Wait long and wait hard! Someday you can change the world, but not today!”
To say that we, as a generation, are powerless is....Dumb. It’s dumb and it’s not even true. The whole point of living in a representative democracy is that we do have power. When you vote you aren’t voting for a king who gets to do whatever seems like a good idea. You vote for someone that you think will represent your interests (whether that actually happens or not is a whole other story). A leader who will do what you would do if faced with a given problem.
Will our environment wither and die if we fail to clamp on polluting corporations with tighter regulations? Will our economy fall behind the rest of the world if we pile unnecessary restrictions on job creators? Our electoral system is based on the idea that you can answer those questions for yourself. You can get informed, think of a solution or see a direction that we should take as a country, and then choose a candidate that will advocate for that solution and that direction on a higher level than what you can do alone.
If we just wait for the world to change because we don’t have direct control over the problem-solving system, we’ll go what, thirty, maybe forty years without any input into the system? And the reality is that as the youngest voting bloc we get to live with the consequences of those thirty or forty years longer than anyone else voting.
We have the most to gain, and to lose. If we don’t voice our opinions, seize our chance to control our nation and make these decisions for ourselves, others will be happy to ascribe opinions too us and make our decisions for us.
The worst thing we can do is wait for the world to change. It doesn’t unless you force it.
But I digress. If come October 19th, you’re too busy to spare an hour to partake in the federal election, no big deal. You can always wait for the next one.