The entire world (no joke) is talking about it. Your social media feed is awash with politics. For 24 intense hours you have to brave the faces and promises of the candidates and their fans alike. Your family WhatsApp group chat is suddenly filled with family members who, all of a sudden, are the most patriotic patriots you’ve ever met. Meanwhile, some of us, let’s face it, are filled with a quiet anxiety, eager to know who’s going to win.
It could be just another day, a relaxing one, where you’d go on about your day as always. You could scroll through your social media and let the algorithm feed you what it thinks you want. But this is no ordinary day. It’s a day that will decide what the next few years will look like in the place you call home, and, arguably, in the world writ-large. Oof! I mean, at least we got them memes to get us through days like these, right? I get it, I really do!
I’m 28. I was raised in a household where sometimes we had a lot and sometimes we had very little. I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. I put all of my energy into things that excite me, that move me, that matter to me, that entertain me. Music, for instance, is one the most magical escapes there are.
We can all agree that, for a while now, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has allowed us to build a perfect virtual escape that lets us get away from what’s happening in the real world — even what’s happening around the corner, if we so wish. (Sidebar: you should really watch The Social Dilemma, available on Netflix.)
Like me, perhaps, you grew up listening to grown-ups telling us we were a “Lost Generation.” That we were uninterested and unbothered by it all. I don’t agree. More to the point, I believe that kind of rhetoric is the laziest way to burden us with a world we’ve inherited. A world weighted down by generations of dishonest policies, selective and unfair economies, and environmental disasters.
Don’t be fooled, though. I don’t mean to draw up a boogeyman to somehow absolve us from our own apathy toward, say, voting, or politics in general.
I think it’s easy for us to feel comfortable sitting at the sidelines of these questions and to think, in turn, that nothing we do or say will change anything whatsoever.
I mean, at the end of the day, “it’s the same old story,” no? A vote here or a vote there — what difference can it make when you count them by the millions?
But wait! Even as I ponder all these things myself, I admit that on election days, I feel an urgent sense of responsibility.
As an artist I’m constantly making decisions and agonizing over every single detail. I’m challenging myself. I’m looking to evolve, to better myself, to change what doesn’t suit me for something new and trying, however silly this may sound, to touch the hearts of those who follow my work. And, as if that wasn’t ambitious enough, to reach those who don’t actually follow my work.
It’s all starting to sound a bit political, though. I apologize, I have gone on a kind of political rant. But it’s true: doing all of this gives me time to think and to plan.
We’re constantly making choices, voting as it were, for things that bring us happiness and improve our life. We cast daily votes for things both big and small. We choose what music to listen to, who to follow on social media, which friendships to keep, what subjects to learn about, and a million other things that make up who we are.
The question is, isn’t it ironic that we’re constantly pushed to make life-altering decisions about things we want to have, to improve, or to change, with the courage and effort that this demands, but we dare not take time out of our day to vote and exercise such a right?
Isn’t it ironic we care so much about likes or followers on social media but not about who’s gonna be the f**king president of the United States?
Even as the options, generally, may not excite us, I think we do care. Our generation can be responsible for changing things. Of course we want a better ruling class committed to improving the livelihood of those less privileged. Of course Black Lives Matter. Of course we’re sick and tired of political apathy and of its familiar vicious cycles.
We want something better, whatever that looks like for each of us.
The Greta Thunbergs of the world make us realize that we are the change we need. They remind us that a single person can generate a revolution. That a single vote can matter.
When you get up from your couch, brave lines and cast your vote, know it speaks to your strength and will to become, like me, one of the heroes of this "Lost Generation."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martín Luther King Jr.