Millennial Monday: 5 ways Millennials have become involved in the 2016 election
What is a Millennial you ask? Let’s define exactly what these mysterious beings truly are.
Merriam Webster defines a Millennial simply, “a person who was born in the 1980s or 1990s.” While Dictionary.com goes into more detail saying, “A term used to refer to the generation, born from 1980 onward, brought up using digital technology and mass media; the children of Baby Boomers; also called Generation Y.”
Now that that’s cleared up, do you ever wonder what goes on in the mind of Millennials? Well, you’re in luck.
My name is Emily, resident Millennial here. I can help explain how our brains work.
This week, I’ll discuss how I think Millennials are more involved than ever in the presidential election.
1. Social Media
It may be more than we want at times, but social media has played a large role in the 2016 presidential election. Why is that you ask? Put simply, Millennials.
As a generation raised using technology at a young age, some younger than others, we are big-time consumers and participators in the media.
Social media has become an informational highway littered with political opinions that most are ready to not see on their timelines or newsfeeds, but the fact of the matter is people are talking about the election, and that’s a good thing.
Facebook added a feature to the top of each newsfeed that asked if you were registered to vote and provided a link to register online. There are almost no excuses anymore to NOT get it done in time to vote. Presidential debates trended on Twitter as users tweeted MEMEs and GIFs of the sometimes comical but mostly tragic behavior of candidates.
NOTE ** MEME (meem) – a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
GIF (g-if) ((there is much debate over how this is pronounced but just trust me, it’s a hard G sound)) – a MEME that moves or short video usually with no sound.
There are people my age whom I know registered to vote and exercise their civil liberty because of social pressure to get involved. Millennials want to have their voices heard. Whether we agree or not with what it is they’re shouting, I’m glad more of my peers are paying attention.
2. Daily Conversation
I am only 23, but I remember the day when who you were voting for or your political party affiliation was not something you discussed in public.
However, the days of private beliefs are long gone. Millennials want to know what you believe, why you believe it and of whom those opinions are leading you to vote.
While I know it’s not just Millennials talking about whom they’re voting for, sometimes I feel we are a bit louder than most. Hear me now, this can be a major fault of Millennials.
We can be too quick to speak and not slow enough to listen. Again, I would rather my peers be passionate and involved than indifferent and not involved.
So I say, converse about the election as long as you can stand to do so.
3. Public Forums/ Rallies
Presidential candidates swept the country this past year, gaining support and drawing large crowds. Who was in those crowds? It wasn’t just Baby Boomers; it was Millennials as well.
I know people my age that drove many miles to support their candidate. I also know those who went to opposing candidates rallies to protest or get a better idea of the opposing side’s ideas.
While I may not agree with those protesting or how they go about it, it comes back to Millennials developing their own opinion and passionately sticking to it. That can take guts and makes me proud to be a part of such a generation, however misunderstood we tend to be.
4. At School
Students in college have taken it upon themselves to make sure we are an informed voting body. Whether it is via a TED Talk, an open forum, or standing on a campus corner handing out materials, Millennials are talking.
NOTE** TED talk – TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics, according to ted.com.
Professors have a part in this movement across college campuses, too. By encouraging (mostly) intelligent discussion on why we believe what we believe, they make way for critical thinking. This provides a platform for informed voters to learn why others believe the way they do.
At my Alma Mater, The University of Central Oklahoma, there will be full election coverage on our campus news station. Students have been preparing for tomorrow night all semester in an class specifically devoted to the election. The election is important to us!
5. We’re Voting
According to NPR (National Public Radio), “Millennials are now as large of a political force as Baby Boomers according to an analysis of U.S. census data from the Pew Research Center, which defines millennials as people between the ages of 18-35. Both generations are roughly 31 percent of the overall electorate.”
We want our loud opinions to count for something, so we’re doing something about it.
In my sophomore year of college, the 2012 presidential election, I was the only one of the people my age, whom I knew, who voted. Now, almost all of my peers are making it to the polls and even voting absentee, which is incredibly intentional.
I say all of this to encourage you to encourage civic engagement to the Millennials you know rather than discounting them as a lazy, uninformed generation. We’re a highly influenced body of people, and we are the future of this great country.
God’s blessings be with you tomorrow as you go to the polls. I am thankful that, regardless of who holds the presidential office, the Lord remains in control of our great country, and that is how I will get through this election season.