I entered high school in 2017 and, like many of my friends, became politically aware under Trump’s America: an America of division, hatred and inefficiency.
Day after day, my peers and I witnessed school shootings, criminal investigations, police brutality, voter suppression and overflowing ICUs — not to mention the recent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a disturbing threat to democracy. Despite our endless protests and widespread activism, nothing ever seemed to change. As a result, much of Gen Z has skewed, generally pessimistic views on politics, government and society.
In class today, our teacher asked us which long-awaited democratic reforms we believed were going to take place. After all, it’s the first time in a long time that the Democratic party controls the presidency, the House and the Senate.
And yet, “no” was the most common answer to nearly every question. Are we being overly cynical or have we just been disappointed too many times? What will be enough to engender change and progress? Regardless of political affiliation, it’s safe to say that this past presidency has been tumultuous and, for Gen Z, this corruption and inaction is all we really know.
But perhaps things will change. As I watched President Biden’s inauguration, I forgot what it was like to have a leader that promotes unity, not polarization. Thus, despite our repeated disillusionment, I urge my generation to be optimistic about change and also to be that change when necessary.