Attention: millennials do care about politics

Photo courtesy of Caleigh Derrerberry

Initially, my letter to the editor was supposed to be about why I disagreed with an article the Technique ran earlier this month. Then the American political cycle reached its dramatic conclusion and, well, it became impossible to think about anything else.

My election night was, I would imagine, the cookie-cutter college election night experience. Me and 30-or-so undergrads piled into a room, ate snacks and heralded the end of what has been a long race. I am a third-year; at this point candidates have been campaigning for approximately half of my time at Tech. I am very tired of politics.

Spirits quickly plummeted as it became clear our favored nominee would not pull through. The far-off horrors we had joked about were suddenly our most likely reality. Red-rimmed eyes became the norm. People paced and stood alone, unable to grasp what was happening. Behind me, a couple discussed the way the next four years might pan out. In front of me, people watched the Dow plummet and wondered about the job market they would graduate into.

I thought mostly of the headlines crying millennial apathy. Young people, according to the media, do not vote and do not care. Last night I sat in a room of 20-somethings who were enraged, bewildered and frightened. We care. We care so much we have developed political anxiety.

I care, of course, that we have elected a bully. I care more, however, that we elected a bully who made his throne out of hatred, and that so many people bought into that hatred.

Some of us do not have the luxury of denying Trump’s personality in favor of his policies or dismissing the way he demonizes minorities. Some of us see ourselves directly threatened by his words and will not (and cannot) move past them. Personally, I cannot look at the president-elect without thinking of the atrocious comments he made about his entitlement to certain parts of the female anatomy.

I do not pretend to think I speak for all millennials — the term “millennial” describes a diverse group of people who only share a range of birth dates. There are, of course, college students who cared about the election and are happy with the results. But the group I do speak for — the liberal-minded 20-somethings of various races, gender identities and sexual preferences that I watched CNN’s stressful election coverage with — has voiced its concerns. And it will continue to voice those concerns. To ignore us because you cannot empathize is to give up sympathy.

This is the part where I am supposed to tell people to do something. The thing is, we millennials already know that — we are already doing things. Young people, as previously stated, do actually care. Continue doing what you are doing, millennials, this is not a letter for you. Raise hell on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Continue to disagree with those who make hate commonplace. Hug your neighbor. Live your life in a way that will change the bleak future we have been gifted.

This is a letter for the people who have bought into the media’s portrayal of young people. Last night, my generation saw the diversity and acceptance we believe in threatened.

It is possible the businessman could win back our trust — he just proved he can surmount impossible odds — but he will have to retract some of the campaign rhetoric that led us here in the first place. We will let him try, of course. We are prepared to
make noise no matter the success of his efforts.

My point is that millennials are watching you, Mr. Trump. And we care.