It’s a story that we have heard for a long time — of the 535 total members of Congress, only nine are millennials. Despite this lack of representation, in 10 years millennials will comprise the largest percent of the work force, a clear indication that millennials need better representation. Laws passed by Congress can last decades, which currently means that many of these laws might outlive the legislators who wrote them. However, they will have a continued effect on our generation who must continue to abide by them.
Millennials are not involved in the political process because we are not translating activism into action. Our generation is the most advanced, informed and well-educated generation to date. Look at recent events like the women’s march, Black Lives Matter movement and the grassroots rally around democratic candidate hopeful Bernie Sanders. We love to voice our opinions and have our voice heard.
But not when it comes to running for elected office. Not only do we not run, but we don’t help those of our generation who choose to run. This can be identified simply through the incumbent advantage. On average an incumbent has about a 90 percent chance of winning reelection against a challenger. People have a natural inclination to vote for a name that they know, and it is hard for an outsider to take a seat from a sitting member.
This lack of involvement has detrimental consequences to our generation and our society. By having laws written by an older generation, they may not reflect the change in ideals expressed by a consensus of Americans. LGBT rights have a 46 percent approval rating among Baby Boomers, but a 71 percent approval rating among millennials. That is a 25 percentage point gap between the generations which could translate to major clashes when it comes to guaranteeing the LGBT community rights that a majority of our country believes they should have.
As millennials, we have an obligation to take back our country, run for offices, vote for fellow millennials and support candidates that share our set of values. If every generation has its time in the sun, I believe ours is overdue and that the Baby Boomers are well past theirs.