New politics, same old politicians

After witnessing a spike as high as 56% in voter turnout among youths in this most recent election, I got to thinking, “Just how many young lawmakers are out there in the complex world of politics?” While my gut would tell me that those numbers are on the rise – especially with prominent youths like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and up-and-coming Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) making headlines – the numbers show the exact opposite to be true.

The average age of the 115th Senate was 61.8 years of age, a record high that is continuing to grow. The House isn’t looking too much better with the average age among Democrats sitting comfortably at 72 years old, an especially striking number considering Democrats are often thought of as the younger generation’s party. As for the Republicans, this issue is not as apparent, as their average age in the House stands at 48.

With communities calling for more progressive policies and reformations, wouldn’t it make sense to turn to young individuals who can, not only recite the issues brought forth by their peers, but speak on them firsthand?

There is clearly a deep flaw in society when we see people like Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-T.X.) – who is 48 years old – as the youthful solution to society’s issues. Millennials and Gen Zers popularized the term “ok boomer,” yet are willing to turn to the Silent Generation – like Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden –  who are at least several decades older than most of their party’s supporters.

If voters are discontent with the state of the Union, then why are they re-electing the same people who have been in office for years without having fixed much of anything? What the nation needs is young people who are active in their policymaking. 

As radical as people may believe AOC to be, it must be said that she is an involved, aggressive, and innovative congresswoman. She finds relevant ways to connect with young voters, like having an active social media presence and live streaming while playing the new, popular game Among Us. Her way of representing is refreshing to many people who see her as a relatable figure, rather than one disconnected from society.

This begs the question: how down to Earth can these congressmen be when they haven’t had a normal job in years? The majority are millionaires who own several houses and haven’t worn jeans publicly in nearly a decade. How could they possibly relate to the hardships of us normal folk who could only dream of making so much in an entire lifetime?

So when legislators like Ocasio-Cortez come into the spotlight, unafraid of sporting her colorful pajamas or messy hair, it makes a statement. Especially when our current Speaker of the House is willing to open a salon for herself in the midst of a pandemic so she can get her hair done. Pelosi serves as a prime example of old politicians who are so disconnected from the real world that they lose sight of what’s important: representing the people.

This road was broken so long ago that people are completely ignorant to the fact that it can be repaved with a bit of tar and elbow grease. What this country needs is not colorful, melted figurines reciting lines from the playbook. We’ve had that for nearly a century and recognize that it doesn’t work nearly as effectively as it should.

What we so desperately need, especially in this day and age when we are struggling to keep afloat, is strong individuals who have the motivation and willpower to actually break the mold. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just repave the road? And maybe, just maybe, as the ruling generation slowly makes their departure, a new generation will rise who will do just that.


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