Alexis Isabel Moncada

Dear Presidential Candidates, My Generation Is Ready For You. Are You Ready For Us?

We’re deemed the “lazy” and “incompetent” generation that is way too attached to its phones, when, in reality, we use technology to talk about things that matter.

The year has arrived -- the year of the presidential elections. In a time of angry family dinners over politics and awkward conversations with the Baby Boomer generation, millennials and young voters have been thrown under the bus when it comes to politics.

The general public usually acts as if young voters have no idea what is going on, and we don’t particularly care, either. We’re deemed the “lazy” and “incompetent” generation that is way too attached to their phones, when in reality, we are the generation that uses technology to distribute information, discuss our opinions, and talk about things that matter to us.

Sure, we all like to laugh at memes every once in awhile, but when it comes down to it, millennials have helped create ways for feminists, racial activists, and LGBT members to discuss their ideas in ways that we can all engage with and make a difference -- through the help of the Internet. Because of this, there has been a large increase in girls who identify as feminists and teens who engage in political conversations. It has also increased awareness for political topics such as racial equality and has amplified the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Without young people and their phones, many cases of police brutality would go unnoticed without any media coverage or discussions. We spread information as fast as humanly possible about cases like Sandra Bland because we genuinely care and because we are capable.

I, for example, have created a website, FeministCulture.com, which coincides with a Twitter page that has reached an audience of over 170,000 people -- all of whom consist of mostly young people who want to talk about the world, who want to make a difference, and who plan to vote this year for someone they believe will truly improve the lives of every American. We live-tweet presidential debates, give our loud and rebellious opinions, and talk to people of all ages, all around our country, about political candidates. We -- just a bunch of “kids who only care about Instagram filters and Snapchats" -- have made a huge difference in the way young people relate to and discuss politics. We’re constantly trying to teach and influence more and more young people to get out and vote, all while doing the most research we can to vote for the best candidate.

And if it ever occurs to older generations that we DO care, it’s to a tremendously shallow degree. We see it in politicians, who think acting like a “relatable teen” will win over our votes. It’s all good for a laugh, but we expect more than just hitting a dance move on a talk show to get us to go out and cast a vote in your favor.

What we want is someone who will treat us like adults and discuss college tuition rates, minimum wage, climate change, taxes, and things that will directly affect our lives and our future. We have amazing ideas, and you can see our impact and energy at campaign rallies. There are stadiums filled with young people who want to make a change in our country. We “careless kids” are taking part in the 2016 presidential race, and we’re screaming from the rooftops that we want to be heard. I personally can't wait to see the voter turnout this year for young voters because over the course of the past few years, we have been brewing a culture of teens and millennials who understand politics and are prepared to make a statement.

Our main issue is that young people's ideas are constantly invalidated because we are far more progressive than our grandparents, but that’s the point. We need progression, and just because we want our future to be one that reflects us doesn’t make us less intelligent than anyone else. We are currently in a time where minimum wage just isn’t enough, and no matter how hard we work, we can't afford our college tuitions. Before we know it, we’re drowning in student debt we’re supposed to be paying off with the jobs that just aren’t there.

But we are rising above and debating these issues, and we want our next president to listen to us. We are ready to be taken seriously. We are shaping the future of America, and so far, I like the way our future looks in the hands of young people who are politically engaged.