Opinion - American Flag (copy)

Olivia Rasmussen is ringing in the new year with the belief that majority of the political climate mirrors corruption and actively ignores the voices of the American people.

Do you feel rage or sadness when you think about our country’s current political system? A political system that allows the president of the United States, both past and current, to cage adults and children at the border while some of those adults and children die or get abused at the hands of federal agents? A political system that revels in the oppression of its people of color and makes a pretty penny off our crooked prison and justice system. A political and economic system that works for the one percent and not the remaining 99 percent, as “the top one percent alone holds more wealth than the middle class” combined? A political system that won’t ever hold itself accountable?

It’s time for us to be louder about what we want and louder about what we need. There’s no room for not engaging in politics because you don’t think it affects you: it does affect you, as it affects every single person in this country. There’s no time left to hope for an Obama era 2.0 with centrists like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden, who are just puppets of the billionaire class. There is no time left to sugarcoat your beliefs for the sake of avoiding conflict. It’s time to progress rather than go backwards or stay the same. It’s time for a revolution, where we move forward as a nation and bring the power back to the people rather than those on top.

Neil Smith Protest 5

A group of Iowans gather to protest against border violence on July 3 in front of the Neil Smith Federal Building in Des Moines. 

Let your voices be heard, millennials and Generation Z — we are the future of this nation, and this is our lifetime that’s at stake. Question and confront authority, even if your voice shakes. It is not our duty to blindly “respect our elders” for no good reason. It’s a ploy to shut up the young progressive voices of this nation. Do not buy into the myth that your vote doesn’t matter or that the system is rigged — even if it may be, voting is an easy thing to do. In the 2016 election, millennials outnumbered the baby boomer population, but over 70 percent of boomers voted, whereas only about half of millennials voted. It is our fundamental duty to exercise our right to vote. It is our fundamental duty to cause social discourse and hold our nation’s leaders accountable for their wrongdoings. It is our fundamental duty to rebel against tyranny.

To the baby boomers and Generation X who are unable to cross party lines because of pride and/or tactless reasons — it’s time to let go of selfishness and think about the future of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren or, simply, the future of this country. Your voice is just as important, but when you mindlessly back a candidate for only your personal gain or lazily excuse your ignorance with the way you were raised, you’re setting a precedent for younger generations to fail. It’s time to look beyond political affiliation and start looking at policy.

We are a nation that would prefer to go to war over helping our own citizens. We are a nation that claims to support our troops but recklessly sends them to fabricated war zones where they die and get injured. We are a nation that often ignores our veterans when they get home and need help. The president brags about spending two trillion dollars on excessive military equipment for his war crimes against Iran, but he and his supporters can’t wrap their minds around spending that much money (or less) on fixing the climate crisis, feeding and housing our homeless, providing healthcare for everyone or providing free college education and vocational training for those who decide to take that path. This is a president who claims to be pro-life but spends trillions on death. War should be the last resort, not the first.

You can be a proud American while also being concerned about your government and wanting the people running this nation to be held accountable for their actions and ideas. “We the people” are supposed to have the voice to change the course of our country, but is our government listening? The majority agrees on issues like climate change and election reform, but our government acts like we’re so heavily divided. It’s a ploy from the rich: the “us vs. them” mentality. The rich hoards the wealth while pitting the working class against each other. The feebleminded buy into the myth that tycoons have their best interest, when obviously their interest is vested in money. It’s time to wake up and revolt against officials and companies who have led our country into dismay for profit.

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