After reading Jack Holmes’ Esquire piece “The Case for Age Limits in American Politics” and Gianna Melillo’s MSN article “Health care, mass shootings top Gen Z priorities” it seems clear to me — as a member of Gen Z — that Gen Z lacks political knowledge and wisdom.
Gen Z needs to wake up because those in control of politics are over the age of 60 and aren’t affected by many of the current issues Gen Z faces. With so many Baby Boomers in powerful government positions, Gen Z is finding it hard to establish an influential role in politics. While it can be said that Gen Z is politically active online, an online presence does not equal a vote.
The Gen Z age range is roughly between 11 and 26 years old. So much development occurs in a young person’s life between ages 18-25 that it can be easy to neglect politics. In “Health care, mass shootings top Gen Z priorities for 2022 midterms” Melillo writes “ In addition, Gen Z might not understand how to register and where to vote, especially if they are away from home and at school.”
College is a big event in a person’s life and it is not uncommon to attend college in a different city or even out of state. Different states experience different political issues and in order to gain political knowledge, one must be devoted to consistently educating oneself on current issues. With all the responsibilities and distractions college brings, this is less likely to happen.
Melillo also states that young voters might not vote due to a “… lack of political knowledge on who and what they will vote for.” It is only in recent years, that Gen Zers of age are now able to vote, and many don’t know how. How do we know what it is that we want and need to improve society when we have only just recently experienced life as an adult? And now, with such easy access to the internet and social media platforms, Gen Zers might not see the importance of political participation especially when they feel as though they have just as much, or if not more political power by voicing their opinions online.
Why pick a senior citizen to represent them when they can represent themselves? Gen Z needs to log off TikTok, register to vote, and get politically engaged. In Connecticut, it’s easy to register to vote through the DMV.
Some may argue that an older individual is more equipped for a role in office seeing as they have more experience and therefore more wisdom compared to a 20-something-year-old who is fresh out of college and has only had an interest in politics for a few years. In “The Case for Age Limits in American Politics,” Holmes notes that “In the current Senate, the oldest in history, 65 is fairly spritely—a bit above the median of 64. Twenty-seven members are in their 70s, and seven are in their 80s… The median age of an American person is 38.”
By allowing a majority of persons whose interests, attitudes, and ages have aged them out of relevancy, the interests of people under 40 are disregarded. Topics such as mental health have been taken more seriously by Gen Z than by Boomers who accuse us of Gen Z of being “soft.” Boomers are known for their inability to modernize their mindsets and their lack of care about issues that don’t concern them directly. Holmes comments on 82-year-old President Biden “It’s hard to see a bold future when the present looks like the past.”
Seeing our President experience the symptoms of old age isn’t exactly inspiring nor is it a good representation of Americans. We need youth as well as wisdom. I believe there would be a great increase in Gen Z political participation if they knew a spot in government was achievable despite their age.
Each year, more and more Gen Zers are finding themselves of age to vote. Seeing as we are the future of America, it is important that we be given the opportunity as well as the resources to have a say in politics, not only with a vote but with a seat at the table. We can offer insight as well as modern perspectives. Political knowledge and wisdom are not achieved through old age but through experiencing a problem firsthand. Gen Z, get registered to vote immediately and join the fight for our future.
Katarzyna Coppola is a student at Norwalk Community College.