Yes I’m Disillusioned with the Democratic Party Yes I’m Voting Blue, We Exist
By Lily Cork
I’ve come a long way from the time when I thought Barack Obama could do no wrong, the Democratic party would always do right by me, and voting would solve every problem we face as a society. Don’t get me wrong — Obama did some great things for the United States, and I recognize there is a difference between the Democratic and Republican platforms, especially regarding issues such as reproductive justice. But just like many of my fellow Gen Zers, I no longer believe that voting blue all the way down my ballot will change the deeply entrenched issues in our country. My generation was handed a dying planet, despicable wealth inequality, a racist justice system, and now a global pandemic. Now we are told that we have to be the saviors of the human race. As much as our crippling anxiety and depression deter us, we do have to step up and ensure democracy and our planet survive. We are the last hope.
I am incredibly proud of how my peers have responded to this overwhelming responsibility. We have organized and fought for stricter gun laws, environmental protection laws, and racial equality, all while keeping our mental health intact and gaining an education. And yet, the same adults who call us humanity’s saving grace will turn around and tell us our ideas are too “radical”; we must be more realistic; Joe Biden cannot support the Green New Deal because it will alienate moderates. What these older generations fail to understand is that with every second we are told to wait, watching helplessly as lives are lost due to ignorance, we are becoming radicalized. The more we educate ourselves about neo-liberalism and capitalism, the more we realize that we are tired of pushing for reform; we want a revolution.
Don’t get me wrong, I am voting for Democrats across the board. With fascism as the alternative, I know I don’t have a choice, and I still at the very least have faith in my local government to make a difference. Also, it will be nice to vote Ronald Reagan-loving Larry Hogan out of office in two years. But the truth is, I have peers who are struggling to find a reason to vote. For many sexual assault survivors, POC, people in lower socioeconomic statuses, and more, the pen used to fill in their ballot feels a lot heavier when neither of the choices represent their needs. Growing up, Gen Z has witnessed and experienced capitalism’s failures firsthand in the 2008 recession and again during the COIV-19 pandemic. We know that this country was founded by wealthy white men; it was built for them to remain in power, which won’t change in the foreseeable future unless something drastic occurs. At the end of the day, both parties are mostly represented by wealthy white men and women who work mainly to benefit their own self-interest, but some progress is being made. Alexandria Ocasio -Cortez is a perfect example of the kind of politician who is shifting the face of the Democratic party, and what it means to represent a diverse constituency.
Let me address my generation, who is fed up with waiting for a candidate who better represents us. I know you want to see yourself as above voting for an imperfect candidate, but you have to vote. The families who were separated from each other because of bigoted immigration practices (some of which were enacted by the Obama administration) need you to vote. The 27.5 million Americans without health insurance need you to vote. Your future children who won’t have clean water or air without serious intervention need you to vote. I know you’re tired, and maybe four years of Biden won’t get us where we want to be. But four more years of Trump will set us even further back.
Now, the adults: Before you judge my generation, or call us entitled, or even tell us we don’t know what we’re talking about, look at the position we are in. We don’t want an “almost” Green New Deal; we want the Green New Deal. We want health insurance (and personally, Medicaid) for all. We don’t just want more police training; we want to tear down and rebuild the entire criminal justice system. We want to get rid of the individualistic, capitalistic, and imperialist mindset ingrained in all of us. You want us to save the dying world that you gave us? Well, we want a revolution.
I feel like so many of our generational disagreements come from idealism. Older liberals want to believe America is the best country in the world, where anybody can achieve anything as long as they work hard enough. Younger leftists want to believe that if we refuse to compromise and prematurely ditch the system altogether, we will have a successful revolution. As much as I wish these mindsets were realistic, they aren’t. So here’s what I propose: We get through this election season by sucking it up, swallowing our pride, and voting blue. After we no longer have a fascist in the White House, we take a good, hard look at our system and figure out what’s working and what isn’t (*ahem* the electoral college). Then, the real work begins.