Superficially, I am your typical high school senior. I drive around in an absolute beater, I work part-time in the fast food industry, and right now I'm stressing out over choosing a college and how to pay for it. But something has been brewing deep down inside me for years — something that puts me in a unique situation today.
As I've grown up, I have become more and more involved in politics. I've dedicated my high school career to serving my school as president of the student council and was the regional representative for a local leadership program. Over the past few years, however, I have grown more and more discouraged by the political direction in which the country is heading. We've resorted to insults instead of talking about policy and ideas, and have lost focus of what is truly important: serving our citizens.
While some demographics are well served, many have fallen into the shadows — including, I've noticed, mine. Young adults are not only underrepresented in the political world but are also extremely inactive within it. We hold the responsibility to change this, so to represent my fellow teens and young adults — and at 18 years old, with no experience in the "real world" — I am running for city council in my hometown of Ludlow, Kentucky. While I know that earning a council seat will be an uphill battle, I know that it'll be more than worth it.
Many politicians, older individuals, and even other young adults fail to understand that we have so much at stake in the upcoming election. We are the ones who are going to find few sufficient jobs when we leave college. We are the ones who will face the implications of our nation's disastrous relationships with other countries. We are the ones who, years down the road, will possbly encounter a lack of adequate Social Security funds when we retire. We are the ones who will deal with the results of decisions made today.
However, I am not writing this to promote myself. I am running for council to serve my community. I am not writing this to take shots at other demographics for not understanding our needs, or at our own demographic for being inactive in the past, or even to support a particular candidate or agenda. I am writing this to encourage your political participation. No matter if you are on the Trump Train, feeling the Bern, standing with Hillary, or supporting another candidate, I encourage you to participate in the upcoming election. In order for a democracy to work effectively and directly represent its citizens, we need the input of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
I want us to be the ones who mark the start of a new "normal" for young adults, to make the decisions that affect us. This is only possible if every young adult in the United States of America participates. We are the unheard voices that shall refuse to be silent any longer.
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